US, Mexico launch new high-level security dialogue to discuss shared challenges

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Washington [US], October 8 (ANI/Sputnik): The US and Mexico on Friday launched the new high-level security dialogue in the Mexican capital to discuss shared challenges that include drug trafficking and immigration, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a roundtable meeting with his Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard.

"I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say how pleased we are to launch this new framework," Blinken said. "After 13 years of the Merida Initiative, it's time for a comprehensive new approach to our security cooperation."

The Merida Initiative was launched by former US President George W. Bush and then-Mexican President Felipe Calderon in 2007. Under the pact, the United States provided Mexican security forces with aircraft, helicopters and training, which accumulated to a $3 billion price tag, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The US and Mexican delegations will discuss ways to enhance cooperation on law enforcement, rule of law, corruption, public health and trade, Blinken said.

Blinken underscored the need to prioritize efforts to disrupt drug cartel groups responsible for most of the crime in Mexico and drug trafficking into the United States.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will meet with Blinken later on Friday.

Blinken is joined by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, US Attorney General Merrick Garland, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols and National Security Council Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez. (Sputnik/ANI)

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