Clinton won't Address Drug Issue in Mexico-Envoy!

Clinton won't Address Drug Issue in Mexico-Envoy!
Posted by FoM on February 11, 1999 at 15:00:39 PT

MEXICO CITY The U.S. debate over whether Mexico should be certified as an ally in the war on drugs will not be on the agenda during President Bill Clinton's visit to Mexico next week, Washington's envoy to Mexico said. 
In a briefing given to local reporters ahead of the Clinton visit and published in the Mexico City press on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow said the U.S. certification process was not open to international negotiations. Clinton and Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo "are going to talk about anti-drug trafficking collaboration because that is a theme," Davidow was quoted as saying. "But I doubt very much that one president or another will mention the certification issue." Clinton and his wife Hillary are due to arrive in the Yucatan city of Merida on Sunday for a visit of less than 24 hours. Clinton has until March 1 to decide whether to "certify" that countries that are major drug producers or transshipment points, including Mexico, are cooperating in the war on drugs. If they are not certified, they can lose a series of U.S. economic and trade benefits. Mexico each year bristles over the certification process, calling it a one-sided affair that is meaningless given the seemingly insatiable demand for illegal drugs in the United States. As if to underline that point, the Mexican Health Ministry on Thursday said a survey it conducted in 1998 showed that 4.7 percent of Mexicans between the ages of 12 and 65 years had used marijuana "at some time in their lives" and 1.45 percent had used cocaine. It compared the figures with data it said it compiled from the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, and a joint group of senior Mexican and U.S. officials. Those figures showed that 32.9 percent of U.S. citizens had used marijuana at some time in their lives, and 10.5 percent had used cocaine. On Wednesday Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Labastida was in Washington detailing for U.S. officials a stepped-up Mexican anti-drug programme that will include X-ray searches for illegal drugs at boarder checkpoints. U.S. officials have recently publicly praised Mexico's campaign against drug trafficking. Clinton is expected to certify Mexico but the Washington Post on Wednesday reported that the White House is bracing for a concerted effort in Congress to overturn the certification. 
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