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Cablegate: Deputy Secretary Visit to Mexico Demonstrates

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RR RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #6046/01 3392116
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 052116Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9798
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0104
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USNORTHCOM
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MEXICO 006046

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/MEX, INR, INL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON MX
SUBJECT: DEPUTY SECRETARY VISIT TO MEXICO DEMONSTRATES
U.S. RESOLVE, STRENGTHENS MEXICAN SUPPORT FOR MERIDA
INITIATIVE


MEXICO 00006046 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: This is the first of five cables
reporting on the October 29-31 visit to Mexico City by Deputy
Secretary Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State for

SIPDIS
Western Hemisphere Affairs Tom Shannon. In meetings with
government leaders, opinion makers and members of civil
society, Ambassador Negroponte underscored that Calderon,s
commitment to better law enforcement and security cooperation
is matched by that of President Bush, that partnership
between our two countries underpins our strategy to implement
the recently announced Merida Initiative, and that soundings
in the U.S. congress have demonstrated general support for
the concept.

2. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary got a first-hand look at
Mexico,s political landscape and some of the challenges
facing the initiative. However, despite some misgivings
among congressional contacts with the manner in which the
Mexican government had handled its launch in Mexico (reported
in Septel), no one with whom the Deputy Secretary spoke
raised serious concerns with the prospect of enhanced law
enforcement cooperation; most agreed that it is warranted by
circumstances here. End Summary.

Foreign Secretary Espinosa Outlines Political Challenges GOM
Faces

3. (SBU) The Deputy Secretary launched his Mexico City
visit with a working lunch at Mexico,s Foreign Affairs
Secretariat (SRE) with the GOM strategic core group that

SIPDIS
worked with USG counterparts in recent months to give shape
to the Merida Initiative. Host Patricia Espinosa (Secretary
for Foreign Relations) shared with Negroponte her view that
the consultations were &intense, delicate, professional,
serious.8 In her view, they represented a new opportunity,
and an unprecedented improvement in the bilateral working
relationship. &Despite whatever happens, we've won.8 she
stated.

4. (SBU) Espinosa recounted her recent experiences in
appearances before the Mexican Congress, in which members
attacked the Calderon Administration for not consulting
adequately regarding the Merida Initiative; Negroponte
remarked that the reaction in Washington was very similar.
The Foreign Secretary said that Mexican legislators seemed
convinced that the GOM had signed off on a hidden agreement
and insisted that she produce it. Legislators also worried
about conditions they believed the U.S. had imposed on
Mexico.
5. (SBU) Ambassador Negroponte noted that each government
now needed to explain the new possibilities to each Congress
and to mold public perceptions to overcome any resistance.
Other topics raised included the Mexican move in January 2008
to centralized passport issuance and the future of the
Bilateral Commission.

Deputy Secretary Underscores U.S. Commitment to President
Calderon

6. (SBU) In a relaxed and friendly meeting with President
Calderon, the Deputy Secretary, accompanied by Assistant
Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Tom Shannon

SIPDIS
and Ambassador Garza, discussed the significant increase in
narcotics-related crime in Mexico since his tenure here as
Ambassador, and noted with satisfaction the deepened
commitment of the Mexican government in fighting it. The
Merida imitative marks a significant step forward, and
signals the recognition of our common interest in acting
together resolutely.
7. (SBU) Ambassador Negroponte outlined the efforts the
State Department had undertaken since the package's
announcement to get Congress's approval of the package.
Senior officials had already engaged widely with key
Congressional leaders and staff and would continue to do so
in coming weeks. He noted that State's initial soundings
were positive. A few members of Congress had registered the
same "process" concerns that had been aired in Mexico (i.e.
that Congress had not been adequately consulted prior to the
Merida Initiative's "launch"). No member, however, has yet
raised serious objections to the proposal itself. However,
he noted, given the realities of Congress's budget process,

MEXICO 00006046 002.2 OF 002


formal Congressional approval would be a matter of months,
not weeks.

Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
GARZA

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