US and Mexico begin work on new security framework

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico and the United States began work Tuesday on the new framework that will govern their security relationship going forward and replaces the Merida Initiative, which had focused on building up Mexico’s capabilities to battle the drug cartels.

The U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health and Safe Communities seeks to move beyond the Merida Initiative.

Working groups composed of representatives of the armed forces, homeland security and justice agencies of both countries gathered in Mexico in what Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard termed the “birth certificate” of the new agreement.

The two countries will continue cooperating against organized crime networks in both countries, including those that smuggle migrants. Just last Thursday, 55 migrants were killed when a semi-trailer packed with people flipped in southern Mexico. The new framework also contemplates giving more attention to drug addiction.

U.S. Amb. Ken Salazar said both presidents had urged them to act quickly. “They are actions, immediate actions,” Salazar said.

Ebrard and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had announced the general outlines of the new framework in October.

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