Thursday, March 26, 2009

Drug War 'Testing US Mexico Ties'

Rising drug-related violence is testing relations between the US and Mexico, the US secretary of state has said, describing the situation along the border between the two countries as "intolerable".

Hillary Clinton who wrapped up a two-day visit to Mexico City on Thursday said both countries shared blame for the violence and reiterated the US commitment to stand by Mexico in its war on drugs and related violence.

She has promised an additional $80m to help Mexico's police buy advanced US-made Blackhawk helicopters for its fight against the drug cartels.

"We will stand shoulder to shoulder with you," Clinton said, accusing "criminals and kingpins spreading violence" of corroding the relationship between the two sides.

The drug war has left more than 1,000 people dead in Mexico so far this year, with violence spilling over the border into the US.

On Thursday Clinton toured the Mexican federal police's state-of-the-art headquarters, the key command centre in the country's bloody war on drugs.

Garcia Luna, Mexico's federal police chief, said Mexico was building, with US support, a modern police force capable of taking on organised crime.

Mexico has long complained its police force is often outgunned by drug dealers armed with firearms purchased in the US and smuggled into the country.

It is illegal to export guns to Mexico but US authorities rarely check vehicles or trains travelling across the joint border into Mexico.


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