U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will leave for Mexico Wednesday to present a tough new U.S. strategy to counter the increasing drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border region, media reports say.
On the eve of her trip, President Barack Obama unveiled a strategy that shifts more of the burden to the U.S. side of the border and accedes to key Mexican demands for bolder action within the United States.
Vowing to do more if needed, Obama said: We are going to continue to monitor the situation. And if the steps that we have taken do not get the job done, then we will do more.
White House officials Tuesday unveiled multi-agency plans to cut domestic drug consumption as well as stop cash and weapons flows from the United States to the drug cartels--all steps that Mexican President Felipe Calderon has called for.
It also calls for increasing the number of immigration, customs and anti-drug agents and gun law enforcement officers posted along the border, and infusing $700 million of funds already allocated by Congress for collaborating with the Mexican government in its fight against drug-cartels.
Stating that the U.S. was sending millions of dollars in additional equipment to provide more effective surveillance besides providing hundreds of additional personnel that can help control the border, deal with customs issues, Obama observed more needs to be done to make sure that illegal guns and cash aren't flowing back to these cartels. That's part of what is financing their operations and that's part of what is arming them, he added.
The move by the U.S. administration came as the new administration is scrambling to coordinate strategy after the growing drug-related violence in Mexico--with 1,000 dead so far this year--started to spill across the border into the southwest U.S., and threaten to become a U.S. national security problem.
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