Return to: Index of 1996 Secretary of State's Speeches/Testimonies ||
Electronic Research Collections Index ||
U.S. Department of State
96/09/25 Remarks with Mexican ForMin prior to Bilateral Meeting
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(New York, New York)
For Immediate Release September 25, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
MEXICAN SECRETARY OF FOREIGN RELATIONS,
PRIOR TO THEIR BILATERAL MEETING
New York, New York
September 25, 1996
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Good morning, I'm very pleased to welcome back
to New York my good friend and colleague, Foreign Minister Angel Gurria.
Over the last 20 months or so we've developed a very close relationship
which is reflective of the warm and close cooperation between our two
The strength of our U.S.-Mexican partnership is a compliment to the work
of both countries,to your President Zedillo, and I know it's a great
satisfaction to President Clinton.
Today, we'll be discussing a number of important issues on the U.N.
agenda as befits our attending here the U.N. General Assembly. Now that
the CTB has been adopted at that striking ceremony yesterday and open
for signing, I look forward to working with the Minister as we seek
ratification of the treaty. We look forward to working with Mexico on
other matters referred to by the President yesterday -- the treaty on
terrorist bombing, on next year's anniversary of the Rio Summit to try
to seek binding standards on greenhouse gases. An issue that has been a
focal point of the work that the Minister and I have done.
Drug trafficking is certainly a critical challenge to both of our
countries. In his speech yesterday, President Clinton announced the
United States will target more than $100 million to provide equipment
and training in the fight against drugs. I'm delighted that Mexico will
be actively participating in this effort. We'll be talking today about
concrete steps that our two governments can take.
I will be congratulating the Foreign Secretary on passage by the Mexican
Congress of their political reform package, which is really a historic
document. We certainly welcome the statements by President Zedillo and
his actions and respecting human rights as they go about combatting the
recent armed attacks.
I think that we'll be discussing, as we usually do, the progress on
economic reforms. Certainly, the results in Mexico are a vindication of
President Clinton's decision last year to stand by our neighbor in its
time of crisis. The Mexican economy is clearly strong and growing
Mexico is playing an increasingly important role around the world.
Mr. Minister, I think the role you played in connection with the
progress of peace in Guatemala is a very positive one and I congratulate
you on those efforts and the signing last week in Mexico City of the
accord on democratic institutions in Guatemala.
I'm always glad to see the Foreign Secretary, and look forward to our
discussion today, as always.
MINISTER GURRIA: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. We are, in fact,
very happy to meet with Secretary Christopher again. We've had a very
close relationship. I think the results are very encouraging. Through
the institutional mechanisms, we have set up the Binational Commission
which deals with the hundreds, maybe thousands, of issues that the
United States and Mexico address everyday. We made quality progress in
The Secretary was mentioning some areas. Trade now exceeds $10 million
per month and growing at 15 or 20 percent per year. The financial
relationships between the two countries are becoming increasingly
intense, and access by Mexico to this and other markets in the world
allowed that we make an early repayment of the facilities which
President Clinton made available to Mexico to shore us up in a very
The Secretary mentioned the question of drugs. Indeed, I think, what
could have become an acrimonious, recriminatory area of the relationship
has become, I think, a very shining example of how two countries can
cooperate on an issue which is of common interest and a common threat to
both countries. We're working on some difficult, hard issues like
migration. We're worried about the mood today, both in the Congress, as
well as in certain areas of the United States in terms of migrants.
As the Secretary suggested, we're also going to be addressing a number
of multilateral issues.
We would like to say that we were particularly delighted that we are now
signing the CTBT. We worked together last year to get the Non-
Proliferation Treaty done. We worked for the last 24 months on the
CTBT, particularly the last few months. Now, we're going to sign it, or
have signed it. It's in the process of being signed and then we're
going to be ratifying. We're all very committed to the whole concept of
not only non-proliferation and test bans but also disarmament. We're
going to be working on that. As President Clinton said yesterday, the
idea being, of course, that in the end we have the total elimination of
these destructive weapons from the face of the earth.
I would like to say, finally, I think the great advantage of having
institutionalized the relationship is that no issue that comes up
between Mexico and the United States is going to be without a channel to
deal with it. We have many issues. Our relationship is one of the most
complex in the world. It's the only relationship between the developed
and a developing country.
More than 300 million people cross our borders every day back and forth
legally. The trade, as I said, is upwards of $120 billion per year. So
this very dense, very complex, very intricate relationship, has
institutional channels to deal with every one of the issues that arise.
It doesn't mean that we're not going to have problems. It doesn't mean
we don't have issues to discuss, but we have the channels, we have the
institutions, we have the people, we have the liaisons; mostly of the
political will to work at solving them with the United States in a
So thank you very much for receiving us, Mr. Secretary.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, if you'll pardon us for going to another
subject for a moment -- the arrest, the South Korean situation. I
wonder if there is anything you could tell us about it? And whether,
indeed, it came up in your conversation with the Foreign Minister?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I've been very disturbed by the reports that I
have received of that arrest and the incident itself. We've been in
touch with the South Korean officials about it. Because this is a matter
that's an on-going criminal investigation, you'll understand why my
comments will be very limited, and comments on the situation itself, of
course, will have to come from the Justice Department.
QUESTION: Did it come up in your meeting yesterday with the Foreign
Minister, Mr. Secretary?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: The arrest wasn't made until last night.
QUESTION: Sir, did the South Koreans say anything to you that you can
relay to us about it?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I said that we've been in touch with the South
Koreans officials today about the situation. I don't want to go into
further detail about it than that, emphasizing that the arrest took
place only last night.
QUESTION: Mr. Gurria, in your remarks to the America Society, you
outlined some steps that Mexico is going to take to protect its
companies against Helms-Burton. Given the assumption that President
Clinton will take a second term, what do you realistically think is
going to happen to that legislation, if you could respond, and Secretary
Christopher as well, please?
MINISTER GURRIA: I think that particular subject has taken, as I
suggested at the Society, a lot of our time, a lot of our energy, a lot
of our efforts. This is time, energy, and efforts that we should be
devoting to the cause of hemispheric integration and further efforts at
trade and not having to worry too much about so-called antidote laws.
I think it's got everybody worried. We've been working with Secretary
Christopher and some of his colleagues in terms of how we can deal with
the situation. This is something that, as you know, was proposed and
inspired by the United States Congress. It is something which basically
affects the whole of the world, not only Mexico.
QUESTION: Do you expect that legislation ever to take effect, and where
you have to implement measures?
MINISTER GURRIA: Unfortunately, we do not really have a say on that.
It's up to the U.S. Administration, the U.S. Congress.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: From our standpoint, as you know, the purpose of
the legislation is to promote democratic institutions in Cuba.
Ambassador Eizenstat has been talking with many countries in the world
about how we can work together to that end. That ought to be the
principle goal of our joint conversations. At the present time, it is
the law of the land, and we will carry it out. As I've said before, we
desire to carry it out in a way that maximizes the effect in Cuba and
working toward democratic institutions and minimizes the effect on our
neighbors and allies and friends.
QUESTION: Mr. Gurria, what is your reaction to the immigration bill --
MINISTER GURRIA: Relieved that it's not going to have the chapter on
education, and worried more generally about the context in which all
these legislations are being proposed. That is something, by the way,
which we feel will stay. It's not a question of disappearing after the
November election. I think there is a new mood, and it's not good. We
don't like what we see in terms of the attitudes of some members of the
Congress and some regions in the United States where the phenomenon of
migration is giving rise to attitudes which seem to be very hostile to
There is a structural change in the world economy today in that
unemployment is now becoming a part of life in no matter which economy -
- the German, the French, the Spanish, the Argentinean, the Mexican, and
the American. Although today the U.S. seems to be probably doing better
than most of the economies in the world. That may be an explanation.
We've said repeatedly that we don't want to promote illegality. We not
only respect but expect every country to enforce their own laws,
including migration laws. We're worried about the impact on human
rights, labor rights, and mostly about the attitudes not only towards
illegal but obviously the spillover into the attitudes towards legal
To the top of this page