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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Merida, Yucatan, Mexico)
For Immediate Release                                  February 15, 1999


U.S.-Mexico Cooperation in Law Enforcement

The United States and Mexico are committed to strengthening our counter-drug efforts and enhancing security along the 2,000 mile border we share by continuing to increase law enforcement cooperation. Today, President Clinton and President Zedillo of Mexico announced a new agreement to enhance consultation on cross-border law enforcement activities; an offer by the United States to provide training and technical assistance for Mexico's new Federal Preventive Police force; and a commitment to negotiate a bilateral agreement that will facilitate information-sharing related to control of chemicals used in the manufacture of illicit drugs.

Agreement on Consultation Procedures

Today in Merida, Attorney General Reno and Mexican Attorney General Madrazo signed an agreement that specifies procedures for consulting on major or otherwise sensitive cross-border law enforcement activities. This agreement follows from a July 2, 1998, joint letter that the two Attorneys General addressed to President Clinton and President Zedillo. That letter expressed a commitment to enhance U.S.-Mexican consultation and cooperation concerning cross-border law enforcement activities.

The new agreement establishes points of contact, timing, and form for notification of and consultation on covered law enforcement activities, and provides for the exchange of annual reports by the Attorneys General on compliance. The agreement applies to all federal law enforcement agencies of both countries.

Mexico's Federal Preventive Police

President Clinton today announced U.S. support for Mexico's newly-established Federal Preventive Police force, a consolidated national uniformed police force that brings together previously disparate forces. Attorney General Reno and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Louis Freeh recently met with Mexican Minister of the Interior Francisco Labastida to discuss this new initiative. Most law enforcement functions in Mexico are exercised at the state and local levels, as in the United States. Unfortunately, many state and local police officers in Mexico lack formal education and training and are paid a very low salary. In creating the Federal Preventive Police, President Zedillo seeks to strengthen law enforcement throughout Mexico by developing an integrated force of carefully-selected, sufficiently-trained, and suitably-paid police officers. The FBI is prepared to provide training and technical assistance to help develop this new law enforcement capability in cooperation with the Government of Mexico.

Bilateral Chemical Control Agreement

President Clinton and President Zedillo agreed to negotiate a bilateral chemical control agreement to facilitate information-sharing regarding suspected illicit diversions of precursor and essential chemicals. Strengthening cooperation in this area of law enforcement is critical to implementation of the U.S.-Mexico Bi-National Drug Strategy. The intended agreement will specify the mechanisms for this important information exchange.

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