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                     Office of the Press Secretary                  
                           Helsinki, Finland

For Immediate Release March 20, 1997

Statement by the President on Senate's Vote on Mexico

I welcome the Senate action endorsing greater cooperation with Mexico and other nations in our hemisphere in the common fight against the scourge of drugs. The resolution approved today represents bipartisan cooperation at its best. Senators reached across the aisle in a way that supports our work with Mexico to keep illegal narcotics out of America's neighborhoods and away from our children.

The Senate and I share a common goal: We both want to improve cooperation with Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean in the fight against drugs. I certified Mexico because of the unprecedented level of counter-narcotics cooperation we have achieved in the last year and because of the positive steps Mexico has taken on its own to fight drug trafficking. But as I said when I made that decision, much more needs to be done by everyone in this battle. This certification reinforces our ongoing efforts and will foster increased U.S.-Mexico cooperation and strengthen Mexico's own anti-drug initiatives. This approach, not confrontation, is the right way to get the results we all want.

The Senate's resolution adopts a clear stand that will support our efforts. It also makes a constructive contribution by emphasizing that solving the problem of drugs requires work on both sides of the border. For example, the bill requires reporting on steps that my Administration is taking, such as strengthening border enforcement and improving anti-drug education for our youth. I welcome the Senate's farsighted approach, and I urge the House to take up this bill and pass it as quickly as possible.