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WH Shelves Plan for Pres. Nieto Visit  02/25 10:38

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A tentative plan for President Donald Trump to host his 
Mexican counterpart in Washington has been put on hold, the White House 
confirmed Saturday.

   Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto have agreed that now is not 
the right time for Pena Nieto to make his first visit since Trump took office 
more than a year ago, according to a White House official who insisted on 
anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. U.S. and Mexican officials will 
continue to talk and work together, the official said.

   The Washington Post cited U.S. and Mexican officials in reporting late 
Saturday that the plan was shelved last week after a testy telephone call 
between the leaders ended in an impasse over the wall Trump has pledged to 
build on the U.S.-Mexico border to stem the flow of immigrants and drugs.

   Trump promised the wall throughout his presidential campaign, often leading 
crowds to yell "Mexico" when he asked who would pay for it.

   Mexico regards the idea of a border wall as an insult and insists it will 
not pay.

   Trump and Pena Nieto spoke on Feb. 20, the White House said in a statement 
at the time. Trump offered condolences after a military helicopter carrying 
officials assessing earthquake damage crashed in the southern Mexican state of 
Oaxaca, killing 13 people, and Pena Nieto offered condolences over last week's 
Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead.

   The statement said Trump underscored his commitment to expanding cooperation 
with Mexico on security, trade, and immigration, but did not mention a possible 
visit by Pena Nieto. The White House sought Saturday to minimize any appearance 
of a rift in relations with its southern neighbor.

   "We enjoy a great relationship with Mexico and the two administrations have 
been working for a year to deepen our cooperation across a range of issues 
including security, immigration, trade and economics," said National Security 
Council spokesman Michael Anton.

   Pena Nieto scrapped a planned trip to meet Trump at the White House shortly 
after Trump took office in January 2017 over Trump's insistence that Mexico pay 
for the wall.

   The leaders met in Germany at the Group of 20 economic summit in July. Trump 
has not visited Mexico as president, though he and Pena Nieto met in Mexico 
City when Trump traveled there as a candidate during the 2016 presidential 


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