LONDON (Reuters) - Mexico will cooperate with the United States in sharing intelligence to fight drug trafficking but does not plan joint patrols with U.S. forces, President Felipe Calderon said Monday.
“We do have to work together but that does not imply the joint participation in military operations or even a joint participation of law enforcement agents,” Calderon said at a press conference during a state visit to London.
The Mexican president said forces from both sides of the border should share information to try to stem the flow of illegal drugs and tackle the gangs who supply them.
The United States has stepped up security on the border with Mexico after new President Barack Obama put Mexico’s drug war high on his agenda.
Crushing the drug cartels, who arm themselves with smuggled U.S. weapons and leave slain rivals in public streets, has become the biggest test of Calderon’s presidency as the bloodshed rattles investors and tourists.
Calderon noted that the U.S. demand for drugs and the availability of guns there were fuelling the violence.
“Violence and organized crime is not only a problem for Mexico, and it has been acknowledged by President Obama, this is a common problem,” he said.
“It has to do with the fact that our border is the border with the largest drug market in the world and with the main producer and seller of guns in the world,” he added.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged last week during a visit to Mexico that an insatiable appetite for illegal drugs in the United States was to blame for much of the violence in its southern neighbor.
Editing by Jon Boyle