Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

National and World

April 30, 2013

Mexico seeks new security, economic agenda with US

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico is ending the widespread access it gave to U.S. security agencies in the name of fighting drug trafficking and organized crime as the country's new government seeks to change its focus from violence to its emerging economy.

The change was confirmed by Mexico's Foreign Ministry on Monday as the government lays out a broad bilateral agenda in advance of Thursday's visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.

All contact for U.S. law enforcement will now go through "a single door," the federal Interior Ministry, the agency that controls security and domestic policy, said Sergio Alcocer, deputy foreign secretary for North American affairs.

It's a dramatic shift from the direct sharing of resources and intelligence between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement under former President Felipe Calderon, who was lauded by the U.S. repeatedly for increasing cooperation between the two countries.

FBI, CIA, DEA and border patrol agents had direct access to units of Mexico's Federal Police, army and navy and worked side by side with those units in major offensives against drug cartels, including the U.S.-backed strategy of killing or arresting top kingpins.

Alcocer said high levels of cooperation with the U.S. will continue on security matters, but he said anti-narcotics efforts were lacking proper coordination.

"Before, you had Agency A from the U.S. government that would deal with agency X, Y and Z from Mexico and then Agency B from the U.S. that would also deal with agency X, Y and Z from Mexico. Nobody knew what was going on," he said. "Far from having a large number of agencies without coordination that are knocking on every door, the Mexican government has a single door called the Secretary of the Interior."

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