August 11, 2000

High Level U.S.-Mexico Contact Group on Drug Control Concludes Eighth Meeting

WASHINGTON, August 8 — The eighth meeting of the Mexico-U.S. High Level Contact Group on Drug Control (HLCG), concluded today in Mexico City.

This was the last meeting of the HLCG during the Administrations of Presidents Zedillo and Clinton. Accordingly, it was a timely encounter to assess the progress that Mexico and the United States have achieved in the past years in the fight against a common enemy: drug trafficking.

The meeting consisted of a Plenary Session and the presentation of reports by the several specialized working groups created by the HLCG on Demand Reduction, Control of Chemical Precursors, Money Laundering, and Illicit Arms Trafficking, as well as of the Plenary Law Enforcement Group and the recently created Bilateral Group on Analysis and Exchange of Information on Interdiction. During the course of the meeting, the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation for Control of Chemical Precursors and Essential Chemical Substances frequently used for the Illicit Production of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was initialized.

The HLCG announced as well the agreement on the text of a report on the implementation of Performance Measures of Effectiveness (PME's) from the period February 1998 to August 1999. This report will be released as soon as the HLCG approves an Executive Summary to accompany it.

The current state of bilateral cooperation was underscored by both delegations. They stressed that the enhanced communication protocols and mechanisms in place, the constant exchange of information, and the coordination of their activities, have resulted in a greater eradication, higher seizures, specially by sea, as well as in the disruption of several drug-trafficking routes in addition to dismantling major illicit drug organizations. In light of the present level of collaboration between both countries, the HLCG called on the future administrations of Mexico and the U.S. to continue strengthening the bilateral dialogue and cooperation against drug-trafficking.

Mexico's strategy to combat the scourge of drugs has assisted in safeguarding the national security of Mexico, by combining individual resources against this phenomenon that affects their population's health, poses risks to the integrity of their institutions, promotes corruption, generates related offenses, weakens law enforcement and public safety, and diminishes the rule of law; in sum, menacing the stability of a country.

"Much has been done, but the enemy is tough and demand a relentless bi-national effort," said Ambassador Reyes-Heroles. "In this regard, the achievements of the HLCG during this past four years should be commended. No other two countries have such a developed framework for cooperation. The HLCG evidences the results of two countries coming together with a common understanding on how to deal with the scourge of drugs. The successes achieved demonstrate what the nations of the world can attain when they join efforts amidst a continuous and respectful dialogue," he added.

The Mexican delegation was jointly headed by Foreign Affairs Secretary, Rosario Green, and Attorney General, Jorge Madrazo. Mexico's Ambassador to the United States of America, Jeszs F. Reyes-Heroles was also member of the delegation, along with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for North America and Europe, Juan Rebolledo and other high level officials from the Secretariat of Foreign Relations and the Attorney General's Office, among them: Eduardo Ibarrola, Deputy Attorney General, Mariano Herran, Special Prosecutor for Drug Trafficking, Federico Salas, Chief of Staff to Foreign Secretary Green and the Director General for North America, Miguel Ruiz Cabaqas, as well as representatives from the Embassy of Mexico to the U.S. and the Secretariats of Gobernacisn, Finance, Health, Defense and Navy.

The U.S. delegation was headed by General Barry McCaffrey, Director of the Office for National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). It also included Robert Brown, Acting Deputy Director of Supply Reduction and Dan Schecter, Deputy Director of the Demand Reduction at ONDCP; Wendy Chamberlain, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department, as well as Mary Lee Warren, Assistant Deputy Attorney General; William Ledwith from DEA and Ana Marma Salazar, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Jeffrey Davidow, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, was also member of the U.S. delegation.

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