US homeland security chief talks drug crackdown with Mexican president

Agence France Presse

Posted at Jul 06 2017 08:52 AM

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Reuters

MEXICO CITY - US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly met Wednesday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to discuss the countries' joint fight against drug cartels, officials said.

Kelly arrived in Mexico Wednesday for three days of high-level talks on trade and security ahead of a meeting between the US and Mexican presidents.

He and Pena Nieto "emphasized the importance that both countries' authorities continue working jointly to fight transnational organized crime, based on the shared responsibility that both nations have recognized," said a statement from the Mexican president's office.

Supplying narcotics to the United States is a multi-billion-dollar business for Mexico's drug cartels, whose grisly violence and heavy artillery have turned into a security headache for both countries.

Kelly and Pena Nieto also discussed immigration and trade issues, the statement said.

The visit comes at a tense time in US-Mexican relations, which have been strained by President Donald Trump's planned border wall, his attacks on Mexican immigrants as "criminals, drug dealers and rapists," and his insistence on holding tough new trade negotiations.

This is Kelly's second official trip to Mexico. He first visited in February with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, just weeks after Trump's inauguration.

On that trip, Kelly promised there would be no mass deportation of undocumented Mexicans living in the United States as Trump had suggested.

Trump and Pena Nieto are scheduled to meet Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The sit-down comes five months after the first official meeting between the two leaders was aborted in a diplomatic spat.

Mexico is not expecting much improvement in neighborly relations to emerge from the presidents' meeting, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Wednesday.

"We're not expecting any major agreements, we're not expecting to settle substantive differences," he told Mexican TV network Televisa.

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