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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/05/16 PRESS BRIEFING ON U.S.-MEXICO BINATIONAL COMMISSION
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN


 
 
                            U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                            Office of the Spokesman 
                                                              
For Immediate Release                                  May 16, 1995 
 
 
                              PRESS AVAILABILITY 
           FOLLOWING CONVENING OF U.S.-MEXICO BINATIONAL COMMISSION 
                                     AND 
                           BILATERAL MEETING BETWEEN 
                    SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                                     AND 
              MEXICAN FOREIGN SECRETARY JOSE ANGEL GURRIA TREVINO 
 
                                Washington, D.C. 
                                  May 16, 1995 
 
 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning.  It's been a great pleasure for me 
to meet again with Foreign Secretary Gurria.  Although he's not been in 
office a very long time, I've developed an extremely high regard for him 
as we worked closely together on a number of issues.  Before I and the 
Secretary take your questions, I'd like to say a few words about the 
excellent bilateral relationship we have in the working of the 
Binational Commission. 
 
The United States, of course, has an immense stake in the stability and 
prosperity of a country that is both our NAFTA neighbor and our third 
largest trading partner.  The last few months have been difficult ones 
for Mexico, but we believe that President Zedillo is putting Mexico back 
on track.  The markets reflect a growing confidence in the Mexican 
economy, and we're very pleased to see that development. 
 
We're also encouraged by the important progress that the Zedillo 
Administration is making in broadening democratic participation, 
strengthening the rule of law, intensifying the fight against corruption 
and the fight against drug trafficking. 
 
I want to emphasize that the United States will be steadfast in its 
support of Mexico, both from an economic standpoint as well as their 
efforts toward political reform.  We're very pleased by the close 
cooperation that we've had with the Zedillo Administration across an 
extraordinary range of issues which we naturally share because of our 
long border. 
 
For example, since the last Binational Meeting a year ago, which was 
held in Mexico City, the Border Environmental Cooperation Committee and 
the North American Development Bank have both become operational, and we 
are determined to work together to make them work effectively. 
 
Today, in addition to the two plenary sessions of our 12th Annual 
Binational Meeting, 13 working groups are meeting with most of the 
members of our Cabinet involved in many of the sessions.  This 
Commission has turned out to be a very productive forum of cooperation -
- a means of cooperation -- for our governments, and certainly this year 
is no exception. 
 
Today we'll conclude a number of agreements in areas of commerce, 
telecommunications, cultural exchanges and biodiversity. 
 
Foreign Secretary Gurria and I spent some time this morning in the 
working group on Legal Affairs and Anti-Narcotics Issues.  That working 
group is being chaired, of course, by Attorney General Reno and Attorney 
General Lozano.  He and I joined this particular meeting because of the 
overriding importance that both of our governments attach to the issues 
of law enforcement, the avoidance of corruption and anti-narcotics 
steps. 
 
Cooperation between Mexico and the United States in these areas is at 
its highest level ever, but certainly much remains to be done.  During 
the course of this year, we'll work hard to strengthen our joint efforts 
to improve our intelligence and assets sharing to reinforce anti-money 
laundering laws, to step up interdiction efforts, especially those aimed 
at the large cargo aircraft which by reports have been transporting 
narcotics. 
 
May I add just a few words about illegal immigration and border 
security.  Last February, a Binational Commission reached agreements in 
several specific areas, and we're making good progress. 
 
First, we're dealing much more effectively with the problem of "port 
runners," and now there are many fewer migrants racing across our 
crossing points which had produced such a great danger to themselves and 
to motorists and to pedestrians. 
 
Second, the Mexicans have taken significant steps to control the cross-
border tunnels at Nogales. 
 
And, third, Mexico is expanding the elite police force, the so-called 
Grupo Beta, to cover two additional border cities so as to improve law 
enforcement on their side of the border. 
 
Finally, the Mexican Government is working very closely with us to deter 
alien smuggling, so I can report good progress on all of those areas. 
 
Before concluding this brief statement, let me change the subject and 
say that President Clinton extended an invitation to President Zedillo 
for a State visit on the 10th of October, and today the Foreign 
Secretary told me that that invitation would be accepted.  Of course, 
that's a great pleasure for us.  It will be an important opportunity for 
the two Presidents to re-enforce the very good relationship that they've 
developed over the last six months. 
 
Speaking of President Clinton, he has invited Foreign Secretary Gurria 
and all of his Cabinet colleagues to come to the White House this 
afternoon so the President has an opportunity to underscore his own 
commitment to a strong cooperation between the United States and Mexico.  
So we're looking forward to an interesting session there. 
 
Mr. Secretary, I invite you to make any remarks that you might like to 
make. 
 
FOREIGN SECRETARY GURRIA: (Through interpreter)  Thank you very much, 
Secretary Christopher.  I think that the introduction made by the 
Secretary to the subjects on the bilateral agenda as well as some of the 
main achievements that jointly we have been able to make over the past 
year since the 11th Binational Commission meeting in Mexico City have 
been very broad and very eloquent. 
 
In fact, I would like to underscore the fact that President Zedillo has, 
in fact, accepted October 10 as the date to visit Washington on his 
State visit.  We are all naturally getting ready for that visit to be 
extremely successful. 
 
I believe, Mr. Secretary, if it is not a problem for you, perhaps it 
would be best to simply open this session to questions and answers right 
away. 
 
If I may, I would like to make one clarification -- just one -- with 
regard to an article that appeared in the Washington press today, in 
case this were not to come in the questions. 
 
Doubts have been expressed with regard to the will of the Mexican 
Government to fulfill certain commitments as far as border projects are 
concerned in improving the environment and, specifically, some water 
treatment projects.  We would like to clarify that it is the intention 
of the Mexican Government to push ahead with those projects. 
 
This article refers to a mathematical thing.  There were a number of 
pesos assigned in the annual budget when the devaluation took place.  
That amount in pesos turned into a small amount in U.S. dollars.  Since 
what is needed to finish those projects, by virtue of the fact that 
there is imported equipment in those projects that has been quoted in 
dollars, is a given amount of U.S. dollars.  This implies that there 
will have to be a budget increase in Mexican pesos to be able to finish 
those projects. 
 
Those steps are being studied at this time.  But I do want to make it 
very clear that the priority of these projects does not depend 
exclusively on the fact that it is a bilateral commitment that was 
established long ago, but that the projects themselves -- these projects 
in Tijuana, the one in Laredo, the ones in Mexcali -- the projects to 
clean up the environment that both the Border Environmental Cooperation 
Committee as well as the North American Development Bank will be 
carrying out are of the highest possible priority. 
 
With that clarification, then, we are ready for any questions you may 
have. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We'll take alternately a question from the 
United States press and then from the Mexican press.  It will be 
conducted by our two press secretaries over here. 
 
The first question from the United States. 
 
QUESTION:  Hello, Mr. Secretary, I'm Betsy Steuart with NBC.  I 
apologize, but I have a question on trade sanctions with Japan. 
 
The announcement was made today, as you know, by Mr. Kantor that trade 
sanctions will be placed on Japan.  Do you agree with this decision?  Is 
there reason to hope that this situation can be resolved before the 
sanctions actually go into effect? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you.  Since I've been in meetings with the 
Binational Commission, I did not hear Mr. Kantor's announcement, but let 
me emphasize my full agreement with the decision that's been taken. 
 
Up to this point, of course, the sanctions will not go into effect for 
30 days or so.  But Mr. Kantor and I have been in very close touch 
throughout this process.  I'm in full support of the decisions that are 
taken here. 
 
Naturally, we hope the matter can be resolved before the sanctions have 
to take effect.  There will be at least 30 days for the parties to have 
an opportunity to consider that.  We'll be very glad to hear from the 
Japanese if they have something to propose to prevent the sanctions from 
coming into effect. 
 
There will be an opportunity for the leaders to meet at the time of 
Halifax.  I'll be meeting at that time with Foreign Minister Kono.  I 
mention that not to suggest that the negotiations ought to take place 
there in Halifax but, rather, to suggest that there will be 
opportunities for the resolution of this matter as we go through this 
difficult period. 
 
The relations between the United States and Japan are excellent in the 
field of security; they're excellent in the political field.  We do a 
great many things together on what is called the "common agenda" and 
matters relating to the environment and population.  What the hope of 
the United States is -- and my own personal hope is -- that we can bring 
our economic relations to the same level that our relations in the other 
fields have.  Because, ultimately, we cannot go ahead, I think, with a 
relationship that is entirely sound if one leg of the stool is in as bad 
repair as the economic situation is at the present time. 
 
QUESTION:  There is a critical issue between Mexico and the United 
States on drugs and immigration that appear with a ever-increasing sense 
of urgency in the bilateral relations between the two countries.  Do you 
see these issues treated in a fair dimension?  Or do you see perhaps a 
pattern in which they are used as a pressure mechanism against Mexico? 
 
And for Secretary Christopher.  Mr. Secretary, Secretary Gurria 
requested the denunciation on the part of the United States of extremist 
forces and anti-Mexican forces in the U.S. fueling confrontation.  Are 
you willing to do that now? 
 
FOREIGN SECRETARY GURRIA:  (Through interpreter)  I would like to 
clarify that the subjects of drug trafficking are a common problem 
recognized by both countries.  As I've said, as a cancer. 
 
Secretary Christopher this morning, in fact, quoted President Zedillo 
who defined drug trafficking as the number one problem in matters of 
national security in Mexico.  We suggested that no country alone will 
succeed against drug trafficking.  Each country must develop the biggest 
effort possible within its own territory.  But, moreover, cooperation 
efforts -- in this case, bilateral efforts because of our geography and 
because of the geo-economy of drug trafficking and, moreover, 
multilateral efforts in terms of the various initiatives that have been 
adopted and will be adopted in this field -- are absolutely basic.  Such 
that it is not a matter of pressure. 
 
We fully agree on the objectives.  What we do every day of the year is 
to seek the best way to implement our cooperation, to implement 
operations, to carry out exchange of information to be able to fight 
this phenomenon. 
 
In the case of migration, the subject is of a different nature.  I 
described it a minute ago in the opening ceremonies as a matter of 
structural approach in the relationship between Mexico and the United 
States.  Once again, we have not identified the fact that this is being 
used as a source of pressure.  We recognize -- we fully recognize -- the 
right of the United States to fulfill and to enforce its laws, including 
migration laws.  But, at the same time, we are aware of the fact that we 
must make sure that the human rights of Mexican nationals are not 
violated in that effort. 
 
The problem, however, does not lie in the enforcement of the laws of 
either country.  It is, above all, contained in the concern that 
Secretary Christopher and I share with regard to the atmosphere that is 
being created around the subject of migration and the fact that the 
problem of migration, above all, because of the importance of Mexican 
migration to the United States might become an electoral matter where 
the relationship and the characterization of the phenomenon of migration 
from Mexico to the U.S. might be dealt with in an unobjective manner. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I wonder if I could ask you to repeat your 
question, please. 
 
QUESTION:  In his opening speech, Secretary Gurria requested a 
denunciation on the part of the United States of those forces that are 
fueling confrontation and trying to insert the immigration issue into a 
very (inaudible) electoral issue during the campaign in the United 
States. 
 
I was wondering if you are willing to respond to that request from 
Secretary Gurria? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think we must try to address the migration 
issue out of the context of presidential campaigns or other electoral 
campaigns.  It's a problem that's been with us for many years.  What is 
common ground is that we need to deal with the problems of illegal 
immigration and deal with them very firmly.  That involves actions on 
both sides of the border. 
 
I'm pleased to say there is good cooperation, as I mentioned in my 
statement, and real progress on several fronts.  This is not a problem 
that you can deal with by snapping a finger.  There's probably no one 
solution to it. 
 
Moreover, the underlying problem, of course, is to try to ensure that 
the reasons that people would want to leave Mexico are diminished by the 
improvement of that economy.  So I think this is one of those extremely 
difficult problems that ought to be addressed on a bipartisan basis in 
our country as well as addressed cooperatively.  That will be the best 
solution of the problem. 
 
I share with the Foreign Secretary the hope that the matter will not be 
polarized by a political debate. 
 
QUESTION:  A question from ABC News, please, for Secretary Christopher 
again -- unfortunately, not on the Mexican question. 
 
President Rafsanjani of Iran says that if the U.S. can prove even one 
example of Iran trying to acquire technology for a bomb, that they'll 
admit the rest.  Given that none of our friends and allies appear 
interested in following our lead in imposing the kinds of sanctions that 
you have just imposed on Iran, is any thought being given to making 
public any of the kinds of intelligence that the United States says it 
has about Iran's efforts to get a bomb?  How are you going to stop them? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I saw those reports.  Indeed, I saw a fragment 
of the broadcast last night.  I must say, the position he took was not 
entirely unexpected. 
 
What Iran should do, if they want to resolve this problem, is to take 
the steps that are available to them.  For example, Iran is an open and 
notorious opponent of the peace process.  They're trying to undermine 
the peace process.  They should simply stop that.  They should stop the 
effort to acquire nuclear technology and thus end any suspicion that 
they're going to have a nuclear weapons program. 
 
It is also open to them to stop the projection of terror around the 
world. 
 
On your precise question, we've made available to a number of 
governments some quite sensitive intelligence which establishes to my 
satisfaction that, first, Iran is involved in some very desperate 
efforts to undermine the peace process; and, second, that they're 
involved in the steps leading to a nuclear weapons program.  There's no 
other explanation for the steps that they're taking. 
 
The denials from Mr. Rafsanjani yesterday were far from unexpected, but 
at least to me totally unconvincing. 
 
QUESTION:  (Through interpreter)  For Secretary Christopher, please.  
Within Resolution 384 of the Senate, Senator Jesse Helms included an 
amendment requesting of the U.S. Department of State and the White House 
information with regard to drug trafficking and corruption in the last 
administration in Mexico. 
 
I'd like to know if you have been receiving this information from the 
Zedillo Administration at this Binational meeting, and what is the 
project to recover such information -- collect such information, present 
it to the Senate right now which is going to be deciding on Resolution 
384. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That subject has not been directly addressed, 
although there's a working group that's been dealing with the general 
issue of narcotics.  I've not been in that working group except to go 
briefly to commend them on their efforts. 
 
With respect to the request from the Congress, many of those matters are 
making their way through the Congress.  If they are finally enacted and 
if the President signs the bill, obviously we'll cooperate. 
 
More broadly, we want to cooperate with the Congress in all matters of 
immigration and narcotics, but at the same time we want to be sure that 
what we do is consistent with our bilateral relations with Mexico. 
 
So I'll have to say on that issue that until Congress finally acts, we 
will simply be in a posture of wanting to work with the Congress but not 
proceeding to take specific actions. 
 
QUESTION:  George Gedda of AP.  Secretary Christopher, Secretary Gurria 
this morning apparently was referring to Proposition 187 when he was 
commenting on attitudes towards immigration in this country.  As a 
Californian, could you give us your thoughts on Prop 187? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think I should not reply exclusively as a 
Californian.  That measure has been enacted.  Some reservations were 
expressed about it during the course of enactment.  It is now the law of 
California, but it is subject to various challenges that are going 
forward.  They're working their way through the courts. 
 
My recollection is that the enforcement has been stayed in various 
respects, and I think we're just going to have to see what the ultimate 
resolution of that matter is.  But I hope that we can manage the matter 
in a way that maintains the very strong relations we have in the United 
States and also maintains the cooperation that exists between the United 
States and Mexico -- the enhanced cooperation in the field of migration. 
 
Do you want to comment on that? 
 
FOREIGN SECRETARY GURRIA:  (Through interpreter)  Perhaps I would simply 
state that yes, in fact, the effect of Prop 187 has been suspended, has 
been stayed, because it's unconstitutionality has been stated and in 
fact the Attorney General of the United States and several senior 
officials of the U.S. Government have expressed their opposition to it. 
 
There is no difference between the Governments of Mexico and the United 
States with regard to the rejection of the sense of Prop 187, which is 
to deny access to education and health which we believe are both a 
universal right. 
 
We are concerned -- and this is part of what I was trying to include in 
my presentation -- we are concerned by the fact that certain groups -- 
and I want this to be very clear -- it is not now a matter of more than 
just a few small groups in other states within the United States that 
have approached the implementation of laws like this, in Illinois, in 
Florida, even in Texas where the Governors of those states have openly 
expressed their opposition to such laws; such that what we have is an 
ongoing debate within the United States where obviously Mexico has very 
much at stake by virtue of the eventual implications for our nationals. 
 
Up to now we're pleased to see that the various legal measures taken by 
the different interest groups have blocked the application of Prop 187. 
 
QUESTION:  (Through interpreter)  For Secretary Christopher.  Mr. 
Secretary, it is clear that no one gives anything in exchange for 
nothing.  What is the U.S. expecting in exchange for the financial 
package?  Is there something we don't know about?  Could this have 
repercussions or be reflected in our Mexican zeal for sovereignty?  Does 
this go beyond the financial sphere?  Does this include anything 
political?  Thank you. 
 
And for you, Secretary Gurria:  If that were so, would the Mexican 
Government accept it? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Let me say that it seems to me there's a 
fundamental misunderstanding in your question.  The United States is 
taking the action that it's taking to support Mexico, because that's in 
the best interests of the United States.  We have a very deep and 
abiding interest in the health of the Mexican economy and its stability, 
so the action we're taking there is not one in which we expect a quid 
pro quo, because it's taken in the best interests of the United States. 
 
It's taken in the best interests of the United States because of our 
interest in their stability, as such, but also because of the effect 
that acute problems in Mexico would have on other emerging democracies. 
 
So far the courageous action that President Clinton has taken -- as I 
say, taken because of the interests of the United States -- appears to 
be having a favorable effect, not only the United States but the 
international community has been supportive.  At the present time the 
markets are reacting favorably to the tough measures that the Mexican 
Government has taken. 
 
But the issue of a quid pro quo does not arise because the actions are 
taken in our own interests rather than as something that we're 
conferring on the Mexican Government. 
 
FOREIGN SECRETARY GURRIA:  (Through interpreter)  First of all, I would 
like to reiterate the appreciation of the Mexican Government because in 
fact the decision and the political courage of President Clinton in 
leading this effort to establish a financial package for Mexico made it 
possible for us today to be in the disbursement stage of at least part 
of the resources of that package; and, as was clearly described by 
Secretary Christopher, we are already seeing very clear signs of 
stability in the markets. 
 
Aside from the interest mentioned by Secretary Christopher of the United 
States itself, there was a systemic interest involved here that was 
recognized in the decision made and, of course, there is a favorable 
impact already in Mexico.  The answer as to whether or not we accepted 
any conditions beyond the strictly economic or financial conditions that 
existed in exchange for a financial package is a very simple and very 
definite no. 
 
But I would also like to make it very clear that there was no attempt to 
do any such thing.  That is very important.  There were no doubt certain 
voices, some of them coming from Congress, some of them from public 
opinion groups, NGOs, which were raised requesting of the Clinton 
Administration that they propose or impose, according to them, political 
conditions; but this does not mean that the government echoed such 
requests nor that such things were placed on the table. 
 
What we have and we need to make a very clear difference here -- we have 
a very clear, a very rich, a very broad, a very dense bilateral agenda, 
literally hundreds of subjects that are living, that are interacting 
every day, and, on the other hand, a financial package that was a result 
of the Mexican crisis that has led to the positive effects that we were 
sure it would have to benefit no doubt Mexico and also the bilateral 
relationship between Mexico and the United States and also to benefit 
the stability of the international monetary system which was one of the 
main objectives of this support. 
 
Thank you very much. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you. 
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