Area Reps to Be Part of Mexico Conference! 

Area Reps to Be Part of Mexico Conference! 
Posted by FoM on February 10, 1999 at 07:10:41 PT

WASHINGTON Two South Texas lawmakers are set to accompany President Clinton to Mexico on Sunday and attend talks on trade, narcotics trafficking and immigration. 
Clinton is scheduled to meet Sunday with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo in Merida to discuss initiatives the two leaders signed in 1997 in Mexico City. The presidential trip is expected to set the tone for U.S.-Mexico relations as the two countries enter the sixth year of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has increased commerce flowing across the border at Texas ports- of-entry. Clinton and Zedillo also have pledged cooperative measures to fight illegal narcotics trafficking and to stem undocumented immigration from Mexico to the United States. Border lawmakers traveling with the president are Reps. Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, and Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes. "Mexico is an important neighbor and partner," Hinojosa said. "This visit is part of the ongoing, close dialogue between our two countries as we continue to further our economic and political partnership." "There is a broad range of issues," a White House National Security Council spokesman said. "We will be talking about migration issues, the counter-narcotics fight and environmental issues, especially along the border." The presidential meeting comes weeks before the Clinton administration decides whether to certify Mexico and 30 other nations as partners in the drug war, a process that has chilled U.S.-Mexico relations in the past. Members of Congress have sought decertification for Mexico, a move that would place sanctions on monetary aid and U.S. technological assistance below the border. Vice President Al Gore this week praised Zedillo and the Mexican government for unveiling a $500 million program to purchase aircraft, naval vessels and satellite communications technology for the war on drugs. Ret. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, has remained an ardent supporter of Mexico's anti-narcotics trafficking efforts. McCaffrey, Secretary of State Madeliene Albright and Attorney General Janet Reno will travel with Clinton to Mexico. Earlier this week, Clinton unveiled a $17.8 billion anti-narcotics strategy that aims to reduce the consumption of illegal drugs in the U.S. by 50 percent in the next six years. 
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