President Donald Trump said Wednesday the US is sending armed soldiers to the southern border after Mexican soldiers recently “pulled guns” on US troops, escalating his war of words with Mexico on immigration.
Trump was apparently referring to an April 13 incident in which Mexican troops reportedly questioned and pointed their weapons at two US troops conducting surveillance on the border.
“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again!” he tweeted.
“We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!”
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government would analyze the incident, take into account Trump’s comments, and act “in keeping with law within the framework of our sovereignty.”
“We are not going to fall for any provocation,” he told reporters in Mexico City.
“The most important thing is to tell (Trump) we are not going to fight with the government of the United States. The most important thing is to say we want a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation for the sake of development.”
It was unclear if Trump was signalling a new deployment or any change in the way US troops on the border are armed or in the rules under which they operate.
A Pentagon official told AFP some of the 2,900 active duty and 2,000 National Guard troops deployed at the border have always been armed “for force protection only.”