Linked by culture, history, and economics, as well as social and family ties, the United States and Mexico enjoy one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. The security and prosperity of our two countries are uniquely bound together, so the challenges that we face from organized crime demand that we work together.
Early in this administration, President Obama and Secretary Clinton recognized the principles of joint responsibility, respect for sovereignty, and partnership in fighting transnational criminal organizations, and asked us to create mechanisms to enable the United States and Mexico to strengthen cooperation between our countries and build institutional capacity.
The U.S.-Mexico Merida High-Level Consultative Group has become the principal mechanism through which our governments collaborate on security issues, including implementing the Merida Initiative. Under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Espinosa, the High-Level Consultative Group met today to review and evaluate the successes of our security efforts and to develop a joint approach for the coming year to strengthen the four areas, or pillars, of cooperation under the Merida framework: Disrupting Organized Criminal Groups; Institutionalizing the Rule of Law; Building a 21st Century Border; and Building Strong and Resilient Communities.
In each of these areas, we are making considerable advances toward greater well-being and security for all our citizens. For example, our enhanced sharing of law enforcement information has led to three dozen drug gang leaders being arrested or killed. Improved coordination between U.S. and Mexican authorities along our border has enabled us to open the first new border crossings in a decade to facilitate legitimate trade and travel -- as we simultaneously make our borders more secure. As we train increasing numbers of Mexican law enforcement officers and increase our engagement with civil society, we support the Mexican government's efforts to be more responsive to public needs and foster dialogue with local communities. Both governments are convinced that the result will be to strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights, hastening the defeat of the drug gangs.
Today's meeting of the High-Level Consultative Group strengthened understanding among the highest officials of both governments, renewed a shared commitment to achieving long-term solutions, and underscored that the United States and Mexico can only meet these challenges through enhanced engagement and shared responsibility. In my eight years working on the U.S-Mexico bilateral relationship, I have never seen this level of shared vision and commitment to a comprehensive and sustainable solution to this tragic problem. We have a strong partnership that I believe is equal to the challenges we face.
Related Content: Secretary Clinton delivers remarks with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa before their meeting.