July 23, 2019 / 3:52 PM / 25 days ago

Guatemala blames opponents after Trump tariff threat

FILE PHOTO - Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales and Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel are seen during a meeting of the Central American Integration System (SICA), in Guatemala City, Guatemala June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala’s Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel on Tuesday blamed unnamed “national actors” for damaging relations with the United States and said they would be responsible if U.S. President Donald Trump puts tariffs on the poor Central American nation.

Trump on Tuesday said he was considering measures including tariffs and fees on remittances to Guatemala after the collapse of a deal that would have made the country act as an asylum buffer zone to reduce immigration to the United States.

Jovel said in a Tweet any such measure would be the responsibility of actors she said were ignorant of foreign relations.

The Foreign Ministry also issued a statement blaming the country’s top court for the situation, but retracted the statement shortly afterwards.

The so-called safe third country deal was thwarted by the Constitutional Court, which ruled that President Jimmy Morales could not sign such an agreement without it first being approved by Congress.

Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

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