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U.S. Department of State
96/05/06 Remarks at US-Mexico Binational Commission Opening Session
Office of the Spokesman


                               U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
 
                              OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN 
                               (Mexico City, Mexico) 
__________________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                                 May  6, 1996 
Text As Prepared For Delivery 
 
 
          REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER  
                 US-MEXICO BINATIONAL COMMISSION  
                    OPENING PLENARY SESSION. 
 
 
Let me thank Secretary Gurria and all our hosts for arranging this 13th 
meeting of the Binational Commission, our largest and broadest ever.  I 
am pleased to be joined by a record number of Cabinet colleagues -- 
Attorney General Janet Reno, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, 
Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, Secretary of 
Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, Secretary of 
Transportation Federico Pena, Secretary of Education Richard Riley, EPA 
Administrator Carol Browner and Office of National Drug Control Policy 
Director Barry McCaffrey.  We are also fortunate to have present 
Counselor to the President Mack McLarty and many other senior 
Administration officials. 
 
In the three years since I attended my first Binational Commission, the 
United States and Mexico have forged the closest partnership in our 
history -- a partnership based on mutual respect and shared vital 
interests in prosperity, stability and the rule of law.  We have turned 
this Commission into an effective mechanism for positive cooperation.  
Through our work here, we are solving common problems and moving forward 
to seize the new opportunities that our common destiny presents. 
 
Together we are building a sound basis for economic growth and 
integration through NAFTA.  Together we are protecting our workers and 
the environment through path-breaking agreements. And together we 
responded to a financial crisis that threatened the prosperity of both 
our countries --  and of emerging markets around the world. 
 
One year ago, President Clinton stood with Mexico because he saw that 
decisive action was necessary to support the financial stability of our 
close neighbor -- and that of emerging markets throughout our 
hemisphere.  It was not the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing 
to do -- and it is working. 
 
The tough and decisive measures taken by President Zedillo have earned 
the confidence of the world and put the Mexican economy back on the road 
to long-term growth.  Interest rates and inflation are down.  Reserves 
are up.   Mexico is paying off its loans on time and has decisively  re-
established its international credit-worthiness.  All the evidence 
suggests that the courage of the Mexican people in the face of hardship 
will be rewarded.  Mexico's economy is expanding again.  Our trade has 
risen in both directions across the border, and we will work to resolve 
outstanding trade issues so that our commerce can continue to grow. 
 
Bold political reforms are making Mexico a more open society -- and 
creating stronger, more vibrant democratic institutions.  The United 
States strongly supports the steps Mexico is taking to encourage party 
competition, to decentralize government, to strengthen the rule of law 
and to fight corruption. 
 
The Binational Commission reflects the breadth of our shared agenda, and 
it is producing concrete benefits for millions of our citizens every 
day.  This year we are adding two new working groups -- one on health 
and one on energy -- to make the Commission an even more comprehensive 
forum for advancing our shared interests.  Let me highlight some of our 
priorities for this meeting. 
 
Presidents Clinton and Zedillo are determined to fight the common 
scourge of illegal drugs at every step -- production, trafficking and 
use.  Through our High Level Contact Group on Drug Control, we are 
increasing information-sharing and developing initiatives to control 
chemical precursors and to shut down drug producers.  We are also making 
major progress toward ensuring that major traffickers and other 
criminals cannot evade justice in one country by fleeing to the other.  
General McCaffrey's leadership will be vital as we enhance our 
cooperation with Mexico to wage this battle. 
 
Last week in Coral Gables, Florida, President Clinton reaffirmed that 
only by strengthening the capabilities of every nation to fight drugs 
and crime can we succeed in protecting our own citizens.  Our 
cooperation with Mexico is an important part of our comprehensive 
strategy.  We are also strengthening law enforcement to deal with 
traffickers at home -- and we made important arrests just last week.  At 
the same time, we are determined to meet our responsibility to reduce 
demand.  The United States and Mexico are working well together on the 
global problem of money laundering.  We are making important progress on 
stopping criminal transactions, especially by drug traffickers.  
Mexico's recent action to make money laundering a crime was especially 
encouraging. 
 
We also continue to work together on the difficult issues of migration.  
The United States is strengthened by the important cultural, social and 
economic contributions that Mexican-Americans make to our nation.  We 
welcome legal migration and reject measures that discriminate against 
legal immigrants.  But we also have a responsibility to our citizens of 
every heritage to enforce our laws and protect our borders.  Together we 
are reducing tension on both sides of the border.  We have launched a 
pilot program for voluntary repatriation to Mexico's interior of those 
who repeatedly try to enter the United States.  We have made important 
progress toward an agreement that will assure full consular protection 
for our nationals in both countries. 
 
The recent tragedies near the border make clear the threat that alien 
smugglers pose to all sides.  They also dramatize the human costs of 
illegal migration.  Efforts to control migration in both countries must 
be conducted with full respect for the rule of law and the human rights 
of every individual.   
 
The United States Government is investigating the recent incidents on 
our side of the border.  Training for federal and state law enforcement 
officials has been increased.  We have instituted a program for Mexican 
human rights officials to visit our border facilities and become more 
familiar with our procedures.  We remain committed to enforcing U.S. 
laws and preventing abuses of rights, whether by alien smugglers or 
government officials.
 
Today, cooperation along our 2,000-mile border is deep and growing.  The 
fourteen cities paired under the Border Liaison Mechanism are taking 
responsibility for local problems, from undocumented minors to the 
return of stolen cars.  The International Boundary and Water Commission 
is also helping to resolve local issues along the border.  
 
Over the past three years, we have developed new mechanisms for 
protecting the environment at the border.  Under the Border XXI 
initiative, citizens from both countries will join local officials in 
planning common strategies to prevent and clean up pollution.  We are 
establishing a Joint Advisory Committee to improve the air quality of 
the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez area.  I have made the environment a high 
priority for U.S. diplomacy, and it is a high priority in our relations 
with Mexico. 
 
Beyond these bilateral issues, we have also opened new opportunities for 
cooperation in our hemisphere and around the world.  For example, Mexico 
has been a leading force for peace and democracy in Guatemala.  The 
accords signed in Mexico City today are an important milestone on the 
path to a comprehensive peace agreement and national reconciliation.  
The United States and Mexico will continue to work together for justice 
and peace in Guatemala. 
 
From defending democracy to building bridges across our borders, the 
United States and Mexico have drawn closer than ever before in ways that 
benefit our citizens and our hemisphere every day.  Through our 
cooperation here, we are constructing the future in a new spirit.  It is 
a future in which two open, stable democracies provide their people with 
good jobs and clean air; where people walk the streets in safety and 
cross borders with dignity; in which our two societies appreciate and 
take strength from each other's diversity.  We have a responsibility to 
our Presidents and our peoples to build that future in the work we do 
here. 
 
I am confident that our meetings today and tomorrow will be productive, 
and I look forward to hearing the results. 

Thank you.  
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