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Trump says he and Mexican leader discussed wall, not payment

Standing alongside the president  of Mexico, a measured Donald Trump defended the right of the  United States to build a massive border wall along its  southern flank, but he declined to repeat his frequent promise  to force Mexico to pay for it.       

Published: 01st September 2016 06:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2016 06:49 AM   |  A+A-

Campaign 2016 Trump M_Mukh
By PTI

MEXICO CITY: Standing alongside the president  of Mexico, a measured Donald Trump defended the right of the  United States to build a massive border wall along its  southern flank, but he declined to repeat his frequent promise  to force Mexico to pay for it.       

Trump, the US presidential candidate who is widely  despised across Mexico, also sidestepped his repeated  criticism of Mexican immigrants following a closed-door  meeting yesterday at the official residence of the country's  president, Enrique Pena Nieto.   

Trump and Pena Nieto, who has compared the New York  billionaire to Adolf Hitler, addressed reporters from adjacent  podiums flanked by a Mexican flag.     

"We did discus the wall. We didn't discuss payment of the  wall," Trump said yesterday.            

In his announcement of his presidential candidacy last  year, Trump derided Mexico as a source of rapists and  criminals coming to the US, and his presence yesterday sparked  anger and protests across the capital city. 

A former Mexican president bluntly told the celebrity  businessman that, despite Pena Nieto's hospitality, he was not  welcome.        

"We don't like him. We don't want him. We reject his  visit," former President Vicente Fox told CNN, calling the  trip a "political stunt."             

Pena Nieto was less combative as he addressed reporters  alongside Trump. He acknowledged the two men had differences,  but he described their conversation as "open and  constructive." They shook hands as the session ended.       

The trip, a politically risky move for Trump 10 weeks  before America's presidential Election Day, came just hours  before the Republican nominee was to deliver a highly  anticipated speech in Arizona about illegal immigration.             

That has been a defining issue of Trump's presidential  campaign, but also one on which he's appeared to waver in  recent days.    

After saying during his Republican primary campaign he  would use a "deportation force" to expel all of the estimated  11 million people living in the United States illegally, Trump  suggested last week he could soften that stance. But he still  says he plans to build a huge wall -- paid for by Mexico --  along the two nations' border.            

He is under pressure to clarify just where he stands in a  speech that's been rescheduled several times as he and his  staff has sent varied and conflicting messages on the issue.     

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