US thanks Mexico for Texas flood aid offer

By AFP   August 31, 2017 | 08:50 am GMT+7
US thanks Mexico for Texas flood aid offer
People look out from a bar to the Gulf of Mexico as the effects of Hurricane Harvey are seen August 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. Photo by AFP/Brendan Smialowski

Neither country specified the amount of aid.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put aside controversy over U.S. plans to build a wall on its southern border Wednesday and thanked Mexico for its offer of aid to flood-stricken Texas.

Tillerson was welcoming his Mexican counterpart Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray to talks on trade and security when he made the comments, even as deadly Storm Harvey made a second landfall.

"I want to thank the government of Mexico for its offer of assistance in the state of Texas," Tillerson, himself a Texan, said.

"They've offered a wide range of assistance, in coordination with the governor down in Texas and also with FEMA," he said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"It's very generous of the government of Mexico to offer their help at this very, very challenging time for our citizens down in Texas and now moving towards the border of Louisiana as well."

Videgaray replied: "You're very, very welcome."

Neither Tillerson nor Videgaray said how much aid was offered nor whether the U.S. would accept. But a U.S. official told AFP: "The State Department is working with FEMA and our foreign partners, including Mexico, to determine the best way forward." FEMA is the federal disaster management agency.

Ties between Washington and Mexico have been strained by President Donald Trump's insistence that America's southern neighbor will one day reimburse the cost of the planned border wall.

Mexican leaders have insisted they will not do that, but Videgaray and his ministerial colleagues frequently visit Washington to talk about trade and fighting organized crime.