US had 'no conversation' with Mexico about paying for Trump's border wall, Rex Tillerson admits

Donald Trump promised Mexico would pay for his 'big, beautiful wall'

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The Independent US

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said he had "no conversation" about Mexico paying for Donald Trump's border wall when he met the country's top diplomat.

In an interview with NBC News, Mr Tillerson was asked whether he made it clear the US expects Mexico to pay for the wall during his meeting with Mexico's Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray.

"We had no conversation about that issue," the Secretary of State said.

"We have had very productive talks around actions that can be taken to slow and stem and discourage transmigration of people coming from central America through Mexico and entering the United States.

"And in fact, the level of immigration, illegal crossings from Mexico... has dropped dramatically.

"So I think Mexico is quite pleased and we've had a number of discussions with them on now we'll work together to make further progress."

During the US presidential election, Mr Trump promised Mexico would pay for his "big, beautiful wall."

When asked further about whether it was US policy to make Mexico pay for the wall, Mr Tillerson said: "It's just not part of our discussions between the foreign minister and myself.

"We were also talking to organise an even greater effort around transnational crime and counter-narcotics to stem the flow of narcotics that flow into the United States and the flow of weapons from the United States into Mexico that supports the cartels. 

"So we're really focused on working at very high levels to address some of these problems and challenges that are really in the interest of both of our countries to make progress on."

Donald Trump's Mexico wall: At what cost, and how long?

There has been a huge drop in the number of people arrested crossing the Mexico border into the US since Mr Trump took office.

The Trump administration has sought to take credit for the decline, with the White House issuing a statement to say Mr Trump's "commitment to securing our border and supporting law enforcement is already showing results." 

However, those working in shelters and experts on migration said it will take several more months to judge whether any drop-off is long lasting, and others think the real "Trump effect" was pushing fearful people to move up their journeys and get to the US before he took office.

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