Mexico, US officials pledge to talk over ‘notorious differences’

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Luis Videgaray, Mexico’s foreign-affairs secretary, and Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, said on Thursday that they are committed to opening a dialogue in the coming months on thorny issues like immigration and trade, as they attempt to smooth over some of the disagreements that have flared up since President Donald Trump took office.

The two officials — joined by Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, Mexico’s interior minister, and John Kelley, US homeland-security secretary — struck a broadly diplomatic tone in remarks following their meetings in Mexico City, their first since Mr Trump took office in January.

Mr Videgaray acknowledged the “notorious differences” between the two countries, despite their close economic ties and shared border. Nevertheless, he said they would meet in the coming months to discuss future plans on trade, which has taken on a particular urgency given Mr Trump’s frequent criticism of the Nafta trade agreement.

Mr Videgaray also expressed concerns about the treatment of Mexicans in the US, as Mr Trump moves to fulfill campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration.

Mr Kelly emphasised that there would be “no mass deportations” and said that any crackdown would be conducted in a way that comports with human rights and US law. He also noted that there would be no “military force” employed to do so, in an aim to quell rumours that the administration was considering deploying members of the National Guard to enforce immigration laws.

Mr Tillerson, a former boss of ExxonMobil, described their meeting as “forward-looking” and focused on “common interests”. “Two strong sovereign countries from time to time will have differences,” he added, noting that future meetings were in the works, possibly in Washington, DC.

The peso — which has risen and fallen as Mr Trump has taken aim at Mexico during his campaign and presidency — appeared largely unmoved by the diplomatic remarks, holding its gain of 1.3 per cent on the day against the US dollar.

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