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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/05/16 REMARKS AT U.S.-MEXICO BINATIONAL COMMISSION
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN 
 
 
 
                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
 
                          Office of the Spokesman 
                                                              
For Immediate Release                                May 16, 1995 
 
 
 
 
                      REMARKS AT THE OPENING PLENARY 
                OF THE U.S.-MEXICO BINATIONAL COMMISSION 
                                     BY 
                  SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                                    AND 
                    SECRETARY OF FOREIGN RELATIONS, 
                       JOSE ANGEL GURRIA TREVINO 
 
                            Washington, D.C. 
                              May 16, 1995 
 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning.  I am very pleased to welcome 
Secretary Gurria and the other members of the Mexican Cabinet to this 
12th Annual Meeting of the Binational Commission, the first one during 
the Administration of President Zedillo.  I would say, I am particularly 
glad to welcome you here on what I think is the nicest day we've had 
this Spring yet, which is a good way for us to begin this very important 
meeting. 
 
I'm joined here by a number of my Cabinet colleagues, whom I will be 
introducing in a few minutes.  Many others will join us during the 
course of the day.  I particularly look forward to meeting, Mr. 
Minister, your splendid colleagues, many of them, I'm sure, for the 
first time. 
 
Of course, this Commission reflects and re-enforces the extraordinary 
cooperation between our two countries.  We share far more than a 2,000 
mile border.  We share common interests, common problems.  But most 
important, we share a common determination to work together because it's 
in the overriding interest of both of our countries to do so. 
 
Since we met just a year ago in Mexico City, Mexico has faced and begun 
to overcome a series of profound challenges, as we all recognize.  
Together, these challenges have tested the strength and adaptability of 
the Mexican economy and the Mexican democracy.  At the same time, they 
have tested the friendship of the United States. 
 
I'm very glad to say that I believe that both of our nations have risen 
to the occasions and have met these tests in a very commendable way. 
 
In the last few months, the financial crisis affecting Mexico has 
commanded our greatest attention.  Although many others hesitated both 
here and abroad, President Clinton acted courageously and decisively in 
February to mobilize American and international support for Mexico. 
 
Under President Zedillo's leadership and the leadership of many in this 
room, Mexico has responded strongly with actions to restore financial 
stability.  It has tightened its financial and fiscal policy, monetary 
policy, and I'm glad to say that the markets are beginning to take 
notice.  The peso is stabilizing and regaining strength.  The Mexican 
stock market has already recovered a substantial portion of the value 
that it lost. 
 
No doubt a difficult period lies ahead, but the tough medicine that 
Mexico is taking appears to be working.  The United States, I emphasize, 
will not waver in our support for Mexico.  Nor will we waver in our 
support for President Zedillo's pursuit of democratic reform.  We 
applaud the bold steps that your Administration has taken to broaden 
political participation, to strengthen the rule of law, to fight 
corruption, and to search for a negotiated solution in Chiapas. 
 
As we have met these difficult challenges in the economy and in the law 
enforcement area, we've sustained our cooperation on a number of other 
difficult, important issues on our common agenda. 
 
Today, we meet to review progress in the working groups on that common 
agenda and find ways to intensify our cooperation.  Let me, as a 
preliminary, just mention a few of them. 
 
Of course, of paramount concern of the United States and Mexico is 
cooperation on law enforcement and counter-narcotics.  President Zedillo 
has courageously called the drug trade Mexico's number one national 
security problem.  We certainly applaud his determination to crack down 
on trafficking, on corruption, and on money laundering. 
 
President Gurria and I, reflecting the importance we attach to this 
issue, will be joining the working group on Legal Affairs and Anti-
Narcotics this morning.  We'll have an opportunity to discuss 
intelligence-sharing and how to improve the coordination of our law 
enforcement agencies. 
 
We're pleased also that we have made progress this last year on 
immigration issues since the last Binational.  We welcome Mexico's 
efforts to improve social conditions in the states that are the primary 
sources of illegal immigration.  We certainly welcome the steps that you 
have taken to end the sordid traffic in illegal immigrants. 
 
We'll work together to do all we can to curb illegal immigration, but at 
the same time, we in the United States are committed to facilitate the 
legal movement of people and goods across our border. 
 
As commerce between the United States and Mexico grows, we must continue 
to improve the environmental standards that protect the health and 
safety of our people.  Since our last Binational, the Border 
Environmental Cooperation Committee and the North American Development 
Bank have become operational.  They're underway, and we are determined 
to work together to make them work. 
 
Of course, we continue to place a very high priority on our trade with 
each other.  NAFTA has already exceeded our expectations.  In fact, 
exports of both countries have risen by about 20 percent since the 
historic agreement on NAFTA went into effect.  As we go forward, we must 
work together to do all we can to achieve the goals of economic 
integration in the hemisphere as a whole that were announced last year 
at the Miami Summit, starting with our negotiations with Chile. 
 
I want to add just a word, as I draw to an end here, on the diplomatic 
partnership that we have.  The United States and Mexico are not only 
important regional partners but we're global partners in APEC -- the 
Asia-Pacific Economic Forum -- the OECD, and, of course, our work 
together in the United Nations. 
 
In that connection, the international community achieved a very 
important consensus only last week on behalf of the indefinite extension 
of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  While our two nations had 
slightly different approaches to the result that was achieved, I don't 
have any doubt but that the close dialogue that I had with Foreign 
Minister Gurria and the close relationship between our two governments 
and our cooperation helped produce that extraordinary historic result:  
an agreement that lessens the dangers of proliferation, lessens the 
dangers of nuclear conflict for the indefinite future. 
 
We have a full range of issues on the agenda today, many of which I 
don't have time to mention.  But I think it is worthy of mention here 
that we'll be signing five agreements during our deliberations, 
agreements that will improve commercial ties, strengthen 
telecommunications, and protect and promote biodiversity. 
 
We're also going to be clearing the way for a new railroad bridge 
between Mexico and the United States, and for the expansion of a second.  
These bridges are not merely vital elements of commerce, but they 
symbolize, in concrete and in steel, the fundamental purpose of our 
relationship with Mexico, a bilateral relationship of which we have none 
that's more important. 
 
History, culture, and geography have bound our nations together.  I 
certainly look forward to working with each of you in the course of this 
day, but, more important, in the course of the entire year, a 
cooperation symbolized by this Binational meeting which is a unique 
meeting in our relationship with all other countries. 
 
Mr. Minister, welcome.  It's very nice to see you again. 
 


SECRETARY GURRIA:  Thank you very much. 
 
(Applause) 
 
(Through Translator)  Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Secretary of State, 
distinguished Members of the U.S. Delegation, colleagues from the 
Mexican Delegation: 
 
Today, we are beginning the first meeting of the Binational Commission 
of the U.S. and Mexico, between members of the two Administrations of 
Presidents Zedillo and Clinton.  Our labors will, to a great extent, 
define the atmosphere, the priorities, and the new understanding with 
which we will be working over the next few years. 
 
The presence of eight members of the Mexican Cabinet is a witness to the 
relevance given by our country to its links with the United States. 
 
The bilateral agenda has reached a level of complexity and wealth 
without precedent.  More than 300 million border-crossings per year, 
more than $100 billion in trade exchange, and the breadth of the 
subjects to be dealt with today provide us with a perspective of the 
dynamic relationship we share.  Thus, in fields as diverse as product 
investment and cultural creation, the struggle against organized crime 
and the improvement of our border, the labor market and scientific and 
technical research, the quality of education and the search for new 
sources of energy, or the updating of our agricultural sectors or the 
behavior of our financial markets is evidence to the implications of 
what is going on in our countries for the development of each other. 
 
In recent years, bilateral relations have experienced a basic change in 
the field of the attitudes and perceptions that we share.  The closeness 
of our two countries is more and more evident as a source of opportunity 
and projects for mutual benefit. 
 
The meeting we are beginning today is both the result of multiple 
previous contacts and also a starting point for a new determination to 
overcome differences and enlarge our coincidences.  The beginning of a 
new understanding. 
 
Almost all the officials present here today have already held several 
meetings with their counterparts although only five and half months have 
passed since President Zedillo took office. 
 
There is a climate of personal confidence which is growing among the 
representatives of both countries which is a solid base on which to 
build a new stage in our relationship. 
 
We should also ratify the formula of dealing with each subject according 
to its merits, avoiding the possibility of any aspect of our agenda, no 
matter how difficult it may be, contaminating the rest of our bilateral 
contacts.  This approach has demonstrated to be effective in maintaining 
respectful and reciprocally useful contacts. 
 
There are very few countries who have such mechanisms of cooperation as 
those developed by the United States and Mexico.  Also exceptional is 
the frequency of our bilateral meetings.  During the last week of the 
meeting of Governors of the Gulf of Mexico, there were five Governors 
from the U.S. side and six from the Mexican side. 
 
This was a milestone.  And recently, in fact yesterday, was the end of 
the 34th Interparliamentary Meeting which was held in Tucson, Arizona; 
and, finally, we are holding this 12th Binational Commission Meeting. 
 
These are clear examples of the closeness and the intensity of the 
contacts that we share and, above all, the quality and high level of 
these contacts. 
 
Notwithstanding, aside from these useful instruments, we should 
systematically renew summit meetings in each country every other year 
between the Presidents of Mexico and the United States in order to 
review the general state of our contacts and to provide more political 
impulse to our common projects. 
 
In many of the subjects of our bilateral agenda, Mexico is reiterating 
its interest in seeking joint solutions to problems which by their very 
nature cannot be dealt with unilaterally.  Naturally, this must be done 
fully respecting the legislations of each country, their sovereignty and 
the legal system of each state. 
 
In migration, Mexico reaffirms its purpose of ensuring that the work and 
the efforts of its people are carried out basically on Mexican soil and 
is shown directly in the prosperity of our country.  Nonetheless, the 
migration of Mexicans to the United States is an undeniable reality.  It 
is a reality motivated by economic reasons, family reasons, historical 
reasons, sociological reasons and cultural reasons -- a reality which is 
stressed by the asymmetry that exists in the levels of income of the 
people of both countries. 
 
Migration, therefore, is a structural phenomenon in the relationship 
between the United States and Mexico, perhaps exacerbated but in no way 
stemming from the difficult situation that we are now going through in 
our country.  We have already accepted for the first time the study and 
quantification of the phenomenon jointly, and on that firm basis we will 
adopt common approaches to deal with it. 
 
It is clear that a structural problem cannot be solved by temporal 
means.  It cannot be overcome by violence nor through repression.  
Respect for human rights and labor rights of all Mexicans is one of the 
highest priorities of Mexico's foreign policy. 
 
We are especially concerned to see the uprise of extremist factions and 
hostile attitudes which are intolerant against the population of Mexico 
or those of Mexican origin.  We are convinced that political moderation 
is a requirement to seek mutually acceptable solutions for this 
phenomenon. 
 
The leadership of the U.S. Government to educate public opinion in some 
areas and regions of this country, to denounce and reverse such trends 
is of vital importance.  It is the right thing to do, and it serves the 
interests of both our peoples. 
 
With regard to drug trafficking, Mexico feels that this universal cancer 
must be fought based on the principle of co-responsibility and with an 
integrated approach.  To this end, each country must in its own 
territory attack the various sources of this problem. 
 
Mexico is working against drug trafficking for reasons of national 
security, for reasons of public health, and as a responsible member of 
the community of nations faced with a global problem.  In this important 
forum we are now reaffirming our commitment to redouble our efforts of 
cooperation binationally in order to be more effective in the struggle 
against drug trafficking. 
 
In other fields, Mexico and the United States are fostering projects, 
looking towards the 21st century.  Along with Canada, we built a large 
space for trade and investment, with clear and permanent rules, in order 
to promote the welfare of our peoples. 
 
The demarche carried out by Chile in order to be included in NAFTA will 
provide this instrument with a new dimension and will be a very useful 
link to comply with the spirit of Miami in the field of trade 
liberalization throughout our hemisphere. 
 
Multilaterally, Mexico and the United States have a fluid dialogue to 
study and deal with those problems which are common to all mankind.  In 
the past few days, during the review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, 
the Mexican delegation worked intensively along with the Chairmanship of 
the conference and held consultations at the very highest level with a 
large number of delegations, among them the United States, in order to 
ensure that the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation 
Treaty goes hand in hand with effective disarmament agreements of non-
proliferation and revision of the Treaty. 
 
We all congratulate ourselves on the successful conclusion of this 
conference and the adoption by consensus of the final resolution. 
 
Ladies and gentlemen, from the beginning of this year, Mexico suffered 
the effects of a very major economic crisis.  In order to deal with it, 
the Mexican Government has implemented a broad-based adjustment program 
to overcome the economic emergency, reactivate growth and create jobs in 
the shortest time possible.  This program is being supported by a 
financial package which is unprecedented, headed by the United States. 
 
Indicators for the first quarter of this year are very hopeful.  
Mexico's trade balance for the first time in many years has a surplus.  
The Mexican peso is beginning to show signs of strength and stability, 
and on its part the stock market and interest rates are beginning to 
show favorable behavior.  All of this justifies reasonable optimism that 
in a short time we will be able to be on the upward trend again. 
 
President Zedillo in Dallas last April 5 stated that the vision of 
President Clinton averted an explosion in the Mexican crisis and kept it 
from becoming a systemic problem or even a problem at the global level. 
 
I would now like to reiterate to President Clinton and to the 
authorities of the United States the appreciation of the Government of 
Mexico for his vision and for that determination.  What happened in 
Mexico must lead us to a serious study of the international financial 
mechanisms and capital flows throughout the world.  It is a source of 
satisfaction to have included this subject on the agenda of the summit 
meeting of the Group of Seven to be held in Halifax in a few days. 
 
In the political sphere, Mexico has carried out major steps in order to 
strengthen its democracy.  Last August, Mexico had exemplary elections 
in choosing a new President.  Free, clean and peaceful participation of 
over 78 percent of the voting public was an unprecedented political 
step, as well as a legitimate and unquestionable mandate for President 
Zedillo. 
 
Based on this mandate, an intensive dialogue was begun with the 
political parties seeking out the broadest possible consensus with 
regard to the following stages of the political reform of our country. 
 
Even more transcendental is our judicial reform.  Day by day we confirm 
the struggle against impunity and the determination to reinforce law and 
order in our society.  The Zedillo Administration has persevered in the 
search for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict in 
Chiapas, with full respect for human rights. 
 
Once all parties represented in Congress passed the legal framework for 
this negotiation, we began the formal encounters between the parties 
involved in this conflict.  For 16 months now in Chiapas there has been 
no war, only the will to negotiate.  That is the road to follow. 
 
Secretary Christopher, Secretaries, ladies and gentlemen, before we 
begin our work, I would like to express to the U.S. authorities the 
appreciation of the Mexican delegation for your hospitality and for the 
friendly welcome that you have given us.  This is the best possible 
guarantee that the work of this Commission will generate the new 
understanding -- and New Understanding written with capital letters -- 
that will move our people towards the 21st century.  Thank you very 
much. 
 
(Sustained applause) 
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