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Trump says "Guatemala has not been good" after it rejected Safe Third Agreement

The Guatemalan government planned to hold a summit with Trump last week in which Morales would sign the safe third country agreement, but canceled his trip to Washington

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One helicopter at the White House in Washington July 19, 2019.

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media before boarding Marine One helicopter at the White House in Washington July 19, 2019 /AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Reuters | Makini Brice and Susan Heavey

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USA president Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that he is considering applying a “ban”, tariffs and remittance fees after Guatemala decided not to move forward with an agreement to designate it as a safe third country, which would involve receiving more asylum seekers.

Leer en español: Trump dice "Guatemala no ha sido buena", explora medidas tras rechazo a tercer país seguro

Being a "safe third country" means that asylum seekers in the United States who have previously passed through another country must apply for it in that nation, considered "safe."

“Guatemala (...) has decided to break the deal it had with us on signing a necessary Safe Third Agreement. We were ready to go,” Trump said on his Twitter account.

“Now we are looking at the 'BAN', tariffs, remittance fees, or all of the above. Guatemala has not been good,” he added.

It was not immediately clear what policies Trump was referring to. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, the Guatemalan Government blamed the Constitutional Court of the country for "demeriting" the "good relationship" with the United States, after it determined a few days ago that any agreement that could make the Central American nation a safe third country should be submitted to the Congress for approval.

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"At various times important alliances have been made to support mainly the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime, where important advances have been made, which have been recognized by Mr. Donald Trump's government," the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Shortly after, President Jimmy Morales said that negotiations to implement a plan with the United States to address irregular migration were carried out in accordance with local laws and that the Court has no power to "meddle" in foreign policy.

"All this puts at risk the bilateral relationship with the United States that will bring possible sanctions," the president wrote on his social networks.

Remittances sent by Guatemalan migrants accounted for more than 11% of the country's GDP in 2017, according to IMF data.

The United States is Guatemala's main business partner, with a commercial exchange equivalent to almost $ 5 billion during the first five months of the year, according to central bank figures.

Trump has made immigration restrictions a key point of his mandate and his campaign for reelection. The president has urged Guatemala, Mexico and other countries in the region to act as intermediate zones and welcome asylum seekers who would otherwise enter the United States.

The Guatemalan government planned to hold a summit last week with Trump in which Morales would sign the safe third country agreement, but canceled its trip to Washington a day before the country's constitutional court blocked the president’s idea of making the declaration.

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