Secretary Clinton led a Cabinet-level delegation to Mexico City for the second formal Merida U.S.-Mexico High Level Consultative Group meeting on March 23, 2010. Following her meeting with Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Secretary Clinton said:
"[L]et me begin by thanking the Foreign Secretary and the Government of Mexico for hosting these very important discussions today. We have had the opportunity to delve into many areas of common concern that lie at the heart of the Merida Initiative and our shared responsibility to combat and defeat organized transnational crime. We're looking forward to continuing this conversation in the weeks and months ahead. We will be seeing President Calderon later today because the United States strongly supports his courageous campaign against violent criminal organizations on behalf of the Mexican people. And we honor the service and sacrifice of Mexico's men and women in uniform in the military and in the police forces.
"The relationship between our two nations is so comprehensive and complex and deep and broad. It is not bound by borders or bureaucratic divisions. And what we are focused on today is a part of that relationship, but a truly significant part. We are working in our two governments together to solve the problem posed by the criminal cartels that stalk the streets of your cities and ours, that kill and injure innocent people, and spread a reign of terror and intimidation, and use the trafficking of drugs to addict people, the trafficking of persons to degrade them, and who are truly an insult and a rebuke to the common values that our two nations share.
"It's an honor to be joined here in Mexico by a very significant delegation from the Obama Administration. Defense Secretary Gates, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan, Acting Deputy Attorney General Grindler, Acting Administrator of the DEA Michele Leonhart, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets in the Treasury Department Adam Szubin, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske, Ambassador Pascual, and a wide range of senior officials, all of whom are committed to this unique partnership that we are exhibiting today.
"Our broad engagement allows us to come at these problems from many different angles, to devise cross-cutting solutions, to ensure that our two governments are working hand-in-hand, not just at the ministerial level but all the way down our bureaucracies.
"We are expanding the Merida Initiative beyond what it was traditionally considered to be, because it is not just about security. Yes, that is paramount, but it is also about institution building. It is about reaching out to and including communities and civil society, and working together to spur social and economic development."
Secretary Clinton continued, "The narcotics cartels are waging war on civil society. This violence shreds communities, it holds back economic development, and it undermines progress. So yes, we accept our share of the responsibility. As I said when I first came here a year ago, I think standing right here on this stage, the United States is your partner and your supporter. We know that the demand for drugs drives much of this illicit trade, that guns purchased in the United States -- as we saw some of the examples outside -- are used to facilitate violence here in Mexico. And the United States must and is doing its part to help you and us meet those challenges.
"Our partnership is so important because, as part of our continuing consultations, we are learning from each other. We are exploring different approaches. We are working to determine what is the best way forward. We've discussed new tools that we can use. But at the end of the day, it is not about discussions or meetings; it is about results. And that's what our two presidents are focused on. They want real results that translate into greater security and improved opportunity for our citizens.
"So today, we agreed on a specific path forward. We are designing concrete and specific work plans, complete with tasks, timetables, and measurements in four strategic areas: disrupting the capacity of the criminal organizations, reforming and strengthening security and justice institutions, creating a 21st century border that advances citizen safety and commerce, and building stronger, more resilient communities that can resist the influence of the cartels."
Read Secretary Clinton's full remarks here.