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Tower Center Director James Hollifield and Luisa de Rosal talk with Austin American Statesman:

Austin American Statesman

Originally Posted: November 14, 2016

In what can be seen as the extension of a diplomatic olive branch, the highest-ranking Mexican diplomat in North America said Monday that his government was not going to publicly engage in conversations about a border wall, deportations or any other issues discussed in the U.S. presidential campaign until after President-elect Donald Trump takes office Jan. 20.

“We’re not going to reply; we’re not going to address what was said during the campaign,” Paulo Carreño King, Mexico’s undersecretary to North America, told the American-Statesman on Monday during the first visit by a high-ranking Mexican official to Austin since Trump won the election last week. “What we think is more important is that we push forward an agenda that the two countries have built in the last decades.”

Carreño King said the Mexican government would like to have direct conversations with Trump’s transition team to discuss the relationships between the two countries and what each “wants to and is able to do” to change it.

The comments are a departure from the Mexican government’s previous statements on Trump’s proposed border wall. After an August meeting with then-candidate Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted: “I repeat what I told him personally: Mexico will never pay for a wall.

James Hollifield, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said Carreño King’s tone is a return to the delicate diplomacy that is customary outside of the “heated and overcharged” rhetoric of an election campaign.

“These are incredibly delicate issues that will affect the relationships between these two countries and the entire North American community for years to come, so I certainly understand the reluctance of Mexican officials and why they’d want to be careful,” Hollifield said. “The main thing is for cooler heads to prevail. That’s the approach to this, which is a smart thing to do.” READ MORE