The United States and Mexico Wednesday agreed to set up a common office in Mexican territory to coordinate joint actions against organized crime and drug trafficking as Washington pledged to work shoulder-to-shoulder with its neighbor on border security, media reports say.
U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who is on a two-day official visit to Mexico, announced at a joint press conference with her Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinoza that the U.S. government is willing to work shoulder by shoulder with Mexico on border security, migration, commerce and competitiveness.
The Obama administration will spend USD 725 million to modernize border crossings and provide about USD 80 million to help Mexico purchase Black Hawk helicopters to fight organized crime, she said.
She also said that in her meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, they discussed issues related to security, economic cooperation, environment, global economic crisis, and U.S. actions to reinforce security in the shared border.
Earlier, she told reporters during her flight to Mexico City, the U.S. shared responsibility with Mexico for dealing with the violence along the border.
Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminal causes the death of police officers, soldiers and civilians, she said.
Earlier Tuesday, White House officials 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.
The Obama administration has put Mexico's drug war high on its agenda as the U.S. scrambles to coordinate strategy after the growing drug-related violence in Mexico--with 6300 persons killed last year and 1,482 dead so far this year--started to spill across the border into the southwest U.S., and threatened to become a U.S. national security problem.
Mexico has spent some USD 6.4 billion since it launched its war on drug trafficking in 2007 and 2008 and sent 45,000 troops and federal police to crack-down on drug cartels around the country.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org