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US-Mexico security framework marks new chapter in cooperation: Blinken

 
Mexico City, Oct 9 (IANS) A new joint security plan between the US and Mexico was discussed, which was described by American Secretary of State Antony Blinken as the beginning of a "new chapter" in security cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

At the conclusion of the US-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue in Mexico City, representatives agreed to end the Merida Initiative and launch a new alliance dubbed the Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health and Safe Communities, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Through the High-Level Security Dialogue we are unlocking the full potential of our partnership. As demonstrated today, both the US and Mexico are committed to cooperating to best protect our citizens, prevent transborder crime, and pursue criminal networks," Blinked tweeted after the meeting.

The central difference between the two programs, explained Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard, is that the Merida Initiative was only focused on capturing major drug lords in Mexico with US backing, while the new one is "more complex".

"Today we have a common strategy that is more complex," Ebrard said at a press conference after the meeting, adding there will be more focus on reducing overall addiction rates and generating job opportunities for youth.

The bilateral dialogue ended with a joint declaration, which covered issues including public health protection, prevention of cross-border crime, reducing arms trafficking, as well as the dismantling of criminal networks.

At the press conference, Blinken acknowledged that Mexico and the US face a "complex" security situation, with several challenges ahead in the "new chapter".

According to experts, drug consumption, violence and trafficking increased in both Mexico and the US during the years of the Merida Initiative.

--IANS
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