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A screenshot from today's video address by Peña Nieto. A screenshot from today's video address by Peña Nieto.

EPN rebukes Trump for threats, disrespect

Peña Nieto takes a tougher stance following US announcement to deploy troops to border

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto rebuked United States President Donald Trump today over his plan to send National Guard troops to the Mexico-U.S. border, urging him to vent his “frustrations” on the U.S. Congress rather than Mexico.

In a candid five-minute video posted to social media that will also be broadcast on national television and radio stations tonight, Peña Nieto said that a little more than a year ago he established “two fundamental principles to guide our relationship with the administration of President Donald Trump.

“First and foremost, to safeguard the national interest, our sovereignty and Mexican’s dignity. And second to maintain a constructive and open vision that allows us to overcome differences, confront common challenges and reach agreements.”

The president said he recognized that the relationship between the two countries is “intense and dynamic” and one that presents challenges but added “these challenges will never justify threatening attitudes or a lack of respect between our countries.”

Nearing the final minute of the address, Peña Nieto directed his message squarely at the United States president.

“President Trump, if you want to reach agreements with Mexico, we are ready. As we have demonstrated until now, we are willing to dialogue with seriousness, in good faith and with a constructive spirit,” he said.

“If your recent statements are the result of frustration due to domestic policy issues, your laws or your Congress, turn to them, not to Mexicans.”

“We will not allow negative rhetoric to define our actions. We will only act in the best interests,” the president said.

Peña Nieto also paraphrased former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, stating: “We will not be afraid to negotiate but we will not negotiate with fear.”

Earlier in the address, Peña Nieto said that Mexico’s Congress and the four presidential candidates are also united behind a common cause based on sovereignty, dignity and the right to respect.

“As [National Action Party coalition candidate] Ricardo Anaya said: this is a moment of national unity. It’s not a campaign issue. It’s a national issue,” he said.

“Mexico is a large and strong nation. We’re a nation that’s proud of its history and culture, its dynamic present and its brilliant future . . . but, above all, we’re a sovereign nation with values and principles . . . We are convinced that, coming to an agreement, as friends, partners and good neighbors, both countries will be much better off than confronting each other.”

“There is something that unites . . . absolutely all Mexicans: the certainty that nothing or nobody is above the dignity of Mexico,” Peña Nieto said in closing.

It was the toughest stance the president has taken yet in replying to Trump’s continuing criticism of Mexico over immigration and organized crime.

The full video appears below.

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