Netanyahu: Ties with Mexico ‘much stronger than passing spat’
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Netanyahu: Ties with Mexico ‘much stronger than passing spat’

PM doubles down on denial that his tweet praising border walls was a comment on Trump’s plan to keep out Mexican migrants

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday insisted ties with Mexico ties were strong, as Israeli leaders raced to appease a seething Mexico City over the premier’s Twitter praise for building walls to keep out migrants.

Netanyahu on Saturday posted a Twitter message that read: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”

The tweet was perceived as offering an endorsement of US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and sparked a diplomatic rift with Mexico City. The prime minister later denied the post had anything to do with Mexico.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu doubled down on denials that he was injecting himself into the hot-button issue roiling Mexico.

“I did point out the remarkable success of Israel’s security fence,” Netanyahu said at the CyberTech conference in Tel Aviv. “But I did not comment about US-Mexico relations.”

“We’ve had, and will continue to have, good relations with Mexico,” the prime minister said. “And I believe our ties are much stronger than any passing disagreement or misunderstanding. And in fact, I’ve had a long, fruitful and very friendly relationship with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and it will continue.”

President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday was set to speak to his Mexican counterpart in a bid to smooth over the spat.

Rivlin’s planned phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto came a day after Israel’s Ambassador to Mexico Yoni Peled met with Mexico’s deputy foreign minister as part of efforts to soothe Mexico City’s wounded response to the prime minister’s post.

Trump made construction of a controversial anti-immigration wall between the US and Mexico a key plank of his election campaign. One of his first acts after inauguration as president was to sign an executive order to begin work on the wall.

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