Mexico won't discuss 'safe third country' agreement with US

Mexico won't discuss 'safe third country' agreement with US
© Reuters

Mexico’s foreign minister said the nation will not participate in further talks on "safe third country" status for asylum-seekers, according to Reuters.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the Trump administration’s stance on the issue remained unclear and that during weekend negotiations Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Cheney calls for Turkish leader's bodyguards to be banned from re-entering US Pompeo: Trump to discuss political solution for Syria in meeting with Erdoğan MORE failed to address an earlier proposal to require asylum-seekers to apply in Mexico unless the migration influx was significantly cut by Monday.

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Ebrard said that on Sunday he told Pompeo that Mexico believed it had helped reduce crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border enough to make the third country proposal unnecessary, according to Reuters.

“I can’t anticipate what their stance is, but the Mexican position is very clear. We are not going to change our position. We don’t agree, and we have not accepted a negotiation about it,” Ebrard said at a press conference.

The Mexican government had previously averted a series of U.S. tariffs on Mexican goods by agreeing to step up enforcement of both its northern border and its southern border with the so-called “Northern Triangle,” from which large numbers of Central American migrants have entered Mexico en route to the U.S.

Pompeo credited Mexico on Sunday for its efforts but said there remained “work to do,” according to Reuters.

“As for the next set of actions. I’ll talk with the president and the teams back in Washington and we’ll decide exactly which tools and exactly how to proceed,” Pompeo said.

After Mexico increased enforcement, including the deployment of about 21,000 national guardsmen to its borders, apprehensions of migrants at the southern border fell to about 100,000 people in June.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.