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US, Central America vow to defeat illegal drug trade
Published in Bikya Masr on 07 - 03 - 2012

Tegucigalpa (dpa) – The United States and the countries of Central America vowed to cooperate in the fight against the illicit drug trade and crime in the region at a meeting of regional leaders in the Honduran capital.
After meeting Tuesday with six presidents, US Vice President Joe Biden pledged that President Barack Obama's administration would seek another 107 million dollars next year for the Central American Regional Security Initiative, an anti-crime program that it has funded with 361 million dollars since 2008.
“No one country can defeat transnational crime alone,” Biden said.
He applauded the leaders of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Honduras for the “key steps” they have already taken “to tackle their security challenges.”
Those countries face an ever-more discouraging challenge of keeping organized crime from spilling over from Mexico. On Monday, Biden was in Mexico, where he heard demands by Mexican President Felipe Calderon to stem the growing flow of arms and money across the US border, fueled by US demand for illicit drugs.
In Honduras, Biden proposed an annual high-level meeting to assess progress towards “improving the security of our citizenry,” and he said the US was doing more to “reduce the demand for illegal drugs” and cut the illicit flow of money and weapons.
But during his Mexico stay, he rejected the suggestion that drugs should be legalized, a proposal made by Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina. Mexican authorities have also rejected the option, and Biden said there was “no possibility” that the Obama administration would change its policy against legalization.
Honduran President Porfiriio Lobo Sosa, who was host of the gathering in Tegucigalpa, said the meeting had focused on “citizen security” and how to coordinate efforts between the US and Central America in the “struggle against organized crime and drug traffic.”
Also present at the meeting were Molina, Presidents Laura Chinchilla of Costa Rica, Mauricio Funes of El Salvador, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Ricardo Martinelli of Panama as well as Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Carlos Morales.
BM
ShortURL: http://goo.gl/WPmXT
Tags: Central America, Drugs, United States
Section: Health, Latest News, North America


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