Mexican foreign minister to visit Washington next week

Story highlights

  • President Enrique Peña Nieto appointed Videgaray as foreign secretary earlier this month
  • Videgaray could be the first foreign minister to visit Washington since Trump takes office

Washington (CNN)Top Mexican officials will visit Washington next week for talks with senior officials in the Trump administration, a possible early gesture the incoming US president wants to repair the rocky relationship he has sparked with America's neighbor.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who has led talks between the Mexican government and the Trump transition team, and Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo are expected to be in Washington January Thursday and Friday, a statement by the Mexican government said.
They are expected to meet with several top White House officials, including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and senior adviser and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. They will be among the first, if not the first, foreign dignitaries to visit Washington after Trump takes office.
    Security, migration and economic issues, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, are expected to top the agenda.
    President Enrique Peña Nieto appointed Videgaray, one of his most trusted advisers, as foreign secretary earlier this month to boost ties with the incoming Trump team. Videgaray was forced to resign as finance minister in September after arranging Trump's visit to Mexico City, which was widely viewed as a public relations disaster for Peña Nieto.
    "With the change of government in the United States on 20 January, the instructions for secretary Videgaray is to accelerate dialogue and contacts so that from the first day the bases for building a constructive work relationship can be established," Peña Nieto said in televised address to the nation. "It should be a relationship, which will allow us to strengthen bilateral ties in security, immigration, commerce and investment."
    Mexico is bracing for Trump to issue possible executive orders related to the controversial wall the incoming president has pledged to build on the United States' border with Mexico to keep out undocumented immigrants.
    "If that happens, obviously, the Mexican government would have something to say," the diplomatic source said. "But the visit is a good first opportunity to talk about the way forward."
    Trump said on January 11 negotiations over his proposed wall with Mexico will begin "immediately" after he takes office.
    Videgaray told Mexican television shortly after being appointed there is "no way" his country will pay for the wall. At a conference of Mexican ambassadors, he pledged to negotiate with "dignity and intelligence" to defend Mexican interests in talks with the US.