POLITICS

Trump aides meeting with Mexican foreign, economy ministers next week

Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray on January 11, 2017.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray on January 11, 2017.  (Reuters)

President-Elect Donald Trump's top aides and senior Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto’s closest aide and confidant, will meet next week in Washington D.C., the Mexican government said in a statement.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo will head talks next Wednesday and Thursday with Trump’s chief-of-staff Reince Priebus and his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, among others.

Videgaray, who was behind Trump’s controversial visit to Mexico in late August, was named foreign minister earlier this month and has developed a close relationship with Kushner. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kushner has been so far the main channel between Mexican officials and Trump’s transition team.

The meetings will address bilateral relations such as security, trade and migration, the statement said.

They will also be attended by Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, Gary Cohn, who heads the White House National Economic Council, trade advisor Peter Navarro, and national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Pena Nieto's Aug. 31 meeting with Trump dealt a blow to the Mexican leader's already-low approval ratings, and he later acknowledged Videgaray – then economy minister - resigned because he helped arrange the visit.

Many Mexicans felt Pena Nieto was not forceful enough in denouncing Trump's comments during the meeting and instead gave a pre-election boost to a man widely loathed in Mexico.

At the time, Trump praised Videgaray, tweeting that "Mexico has lost a brilliant finance minister and wonderful man who I know is highly respected by President Pena Nieto."

But Trump also said, "The people that arranged the trip in Mexico have been forced out of government. That's how well we did."

Pena Nieto defended the visit as necessary to open a "space for dialogue" to stress the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

Some saw Videgaray's return as unavoidable, given Trump's election victory.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.