When U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office, Mexico will opt for dialogue and negotiation with its northern neighbor, rather than insults and conflict, Mexico’s newly-installed foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, told a meeting of diplomats on Monday.
Mexico was committed to recovering its international leadership, he told the meeting of Mexican ambassadors and consuls, and would not be submissive in its relationship with the incoming Trump administration.
“Let’s be clear,” he said, “sovereignty is not for sale.”
Mexican migrants in the United States were not criminals, he added, in a clear reference to disparaging remarks made repeatedly by Trump during the election campaign.
“We will negotiate but always making it clear ... that our compatriots in the United States are not criminals," he said.
Videgaray was appointed foreign minister last week just four months after he was replaced as finance minister in the wake of a controversial visit to Mexico by Trump last year.
“There are voices being raised now calling for a strategy of conflict, others who predict submission. Mexico will not take either of those backdoors,” Videgaray said.
Mexico would rely on common sense in its negotiations with Trump, he said, adding that the bilateral relationship would be handled "with realism."
Videgaray is one of the few Mexican officials with whom President-elect Trump has enjoyed friendly relations. During the campaign, Trump said that his dealings with Videgaray made him believe Mexico and the United States could do "wonderful business together."
Videgaray has also been a confidant to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and was a key player in structural reforms to the Mexican economy, which so far have had mixed results.
The country is currently in the midst of a week of protests over a 20 percent hike in gas prices after the government eliminated federal subsidies.