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Reyes Meets With Mexican President, Discusses Juarez Violence

U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes led a three-day congressional delegation of senior members of Congress to Mexico City to meet with President Felipe Calderon and Mexican legislators, according to Reyes’ office.

The delegation discussed ongoing efforts to reduce drug-related violence in Mexico, particularly in Ciudad Juarez.

Reyes’ statement on the meeting is below:

“Today, I returned from Mexico City after leading a three-day congressional delegation to meet with President Felipe Calderon and senior Members of the Mexican Legislature to discuss the government’s ongoing efforts to reduce drug-related violence and opportunities to expand U.S. cooperation and assistance,” Reyes said in a statement. “I was joined by my colleagues, Congressmen Ed Pastor and Henry Cuellar. The continued violence in Mexico, particularly in the northern border region, poses a serious threat to our national security, and the United States has a shared responsibility to curb drug demand and the trafficking of weapons and money that fuel the violence by warring drug cartels. Our meetings with President Calderon and senior legislators come on the heels of high-level meetings in Mexico City with several members of President Obama’s Cabinet and their counterparts in Mexico, and further reflect our countries’ commitment to address this binational security threat collaboratively.

“This year marks the final year of the 3-year Merida Initiative, and the U.S. Congress and the Administration are working closely, together with counterparts in Mexico, to develop the next phase of assistance. As I have emphasized, the new assistance package to Mexico must encompass investments in four critical areas: 1) assistance to help Mexico continue to disrupt the organizational capacity of the drug cartels; 2) efforts to strengthen Mexico’s institutional capacity to enforce the rule of law, particularly with respect to the judicial process; 3) investments in 21st technologies and initiatives at our ports of entry that strengthen security while supporting vibrant cross-border trade and commerce and; 4) investments in social and economic development initiatives for local communities ravaged by violence and efforts to curb drug demand.

“During my conversation with President Calderon, I expressed our community’s deep concerns about the escalating violence across the border in Juarez. He understands the frustration of residents from our side of the border and remains determined to stabilize and rebuild the city. I commend President Calderon for his continued leadership in confronting a powerful enemy that threatens both our nations, and to rooting out corruption that has plagued Mexico for decades. He also understands the critical need for greater emphasis on social and economic development measures to rebuild Juarez and create opportunities for youth who are lured by the drug trade.

“Next month, President Obama will once again meet with President Calderon in Washington, D.C, marking the fourth meeting between the two leaders in less than a year and a half. Next week, First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Mexico City, on her first solo trip abroad as First Lady. I remain encouraged by the continued level of engagement with Mexico, and will continue to work with Speaker Pelosi, my colleagues in Congress, and President Obama to support the Mexican government’s efforts to reduce the violence and strengthen the rule of law.”

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