US, Mexico seek to revamp fight against drug cartels

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The United States and Mexico are set to discuss an overhaul of their joint fight against drug cartels during a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said Mexico no longer wants helicopter gunships and other weapons to combat drug traffickers, urging the United States to invest in regional economic development instead.

Ahead of Blinken s visit, his first to Mexico as the top US diplomat, Washington indicated that it was ready to revamp a 13-year-old program called the Merida Initiative that provided US military firepower, technical support and security training.

“We believe we are due for an updated look at our bilateral security cooperation,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

He said Washington wanted to see the “significant gains” made by the Merida Initiative “preserved, that that cooperation is deepened and that we have an updated approach that accounts for the threats of today.”

The Mexican government has gone further, calling for an end to the Merida Initiative.

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