Mexico to propose to Blinken that US do away with Merida Initiative

Mexico City, Oct 5 (EFE).- The Mexican government will propose to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Mexico City later this week that the Merida Initiative (also known as Plan Mexico), based on using the military to fight drug trafficking, be scrapped, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced Tuesday.

“There must be a new phase, leaving behind the Merida Initiative, which is … based on a security strategy completely different from that which is being implemented,” said Ebrard during the morning press conference held by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Veracruz.

The Merida Initiative is a security cooperation agreement among the United States, the government of Mexico, and the countries of Central America, with the declared aim of combating the threats of drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, and money laundering.

A US government delegation headed by Blinken is scheduled to travel to Mexico this week to resume with Mexican officials the binational High Level Security Dialogue.

The meeting, in which US Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will also participate, will take place Friday in the Mexican capital.

The Mexican foreign relations chief said that the two countries should “work on security matters for a symmetric and respectful understanding.”

He said that the Mexican government has a list of 10 priorities, but he only outlined the ones geared to reducing murders, increasing control of weapons trafficking and cooperating on extraditions.

Ebrard explained that the US delegation will meet with Lopez Obrador and then with Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz, and finally will visit the Mexican Foreign Ministry to meet with the Mexican security cabinet.

The activation of the dialogue forum on security was one of the agreements between Lopez Obrador and US Vice President Kamala Harris at a bilateral meeting held in June.

The mechanism is being pursued in parallel with the High Level Economic Dialogue, which recently was launched in Washington to discuss the development and investments between the two countries, and which in November will deliver “its first results,” Ebrard said.

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