For Immediate Release
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Mexico City, Mexico)
May 6, 1997
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON,
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT,
MEXICO SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS JOSE GURRIA,
MEXICO ATTORNEY GENERAL JORGE MADRAZO,
U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO,
AND GENERAL BARRY MCCAFFREY
UPON RECEIVING BINATIONAL COMMISSION REPORT
Lopez Mateos Room
Los Pinos Presidential Palace
Mexico City, Mexico
ATTORNEY GENERAL MADRAZO: Dr. Ernesto Zedillo, President of
the United Mexican States; Mr. William Jefferson Clinton, President of the
United States of America; distinguished members of the Mexican and U.S.
delegations; ladies and gentlemen: Drug trafficking is one of the worst evils
of our time. It generates great violence which is reflected in the lives that
are lost, the futures that are severed, the homes that are broken, the
institutions which are corrupted, the young people who lose their course, the
young people whose future becomes obscured as well as uncertainty of thousands
of families and communities.
The President of Mexico has justly described drug trafficking
as the main threat to our national security. Beyond the intensical legal,
political and international reasons, drug trafficking and the use of drugs by
those who are the victims of drugs on a daily basis represents a fundamentally
human problem as well as a problem of society at large.
If we understand it is so for the government to effectively to
work in benefit of its people, the struggle against drugs must receive the
highest priority. Nothing can
replace the effort that each country must carry out against drug trafficking.
No one can carry out the path that we are each
responsible for. Nevertheless, drug trafficking is a complex
phenomenon and an international phenomenon and, thus, the success
in combatting drug trafficking depends on harmonizing our efforts
in the actions of each nation.
Mexico and the United States share a great
responsibility in the struggle against drug trafficking and in
abating the use of drugs. This is a responsibility which emerges
from its intensive proximity with the United States in
identifying the true common enemy, which must place us in a
partnership situation as allies.
Historically, alliances are based on the respect of
national sovereignty, on the dignity of the people and the
reciprocal trust and everyday exercise or implementation of laws.
The true and long-lasting alliances do not make the differences
of the allies disappear; however, they know how to help them come
together. They do not forget the history of each one, but
underscore the actions which will make it possible to meet the
In the joint diagnosis carried out by Mexico and the
United States on the threat of the drug phenomenon which is the
result of the high-level contact group established between the
two countries and which we are now placing in the hands of our
heads of state -- this is an example of the fact that we are
speaking the same language; that it is precisely this forum, the
forum in which, through dialogue, we will be able to share
efforts and share experiences, we will be able to set goals and
courses, we will be able to deal with discrepancies and assess
the results of change.
Yesterday, in the course of the 14th meeting of the
Binational Commission of Mexico and the United States, these were
the principles which were ratified, the criteria which were
specified and the hopes which were shared.
The efforts which Mexico has carried out against
drug trafficking are quite obvious. We have modernized and
updated our legislation and our practices in important fields
such as the dealing legally with users of organized crime --
money laundering, identifying suspicious financial operations.
And in Mexico we are openly combatting -- and corruption and we
are reorganizing and cleaning up the agencies dedicated to the
fight against drugs. The premise is that this pact must be
carried out honestly, efficiently, loyally and with conviction.
Much has been done, much has been accomplished.
Yet, there is more yet to be done. The deviation of chemical
precursors and the production of synthetic drugs, trafficking of
weapons and the dismantling of drug cartels, the seizure and
detention of fugitives who cross both sides of our borders, and
legal, effective collaboration and reciprocal mutual legal
assistance are fields in which binational cooperation must yet be
A significant decrease in the consumption of drugs
must be the backbone in order to do away with the chain of drug
trafficking in the phases of production,
circulation and distribution. If there is a political will and
mutual trust, if there is dialogue and cooperation with a precise
strategy and clear goals which are susceptible to joint
periodical assessment, it is not only possible, but sure, that we
will make progress in our common goal in benefit of the people
who, as civil servants, we owe our work to.
Thank you very much.
GENERAL MCCAFFREY: President Clinton, President
Zedillo, distinguished members of the Cabinets of the United
States and Mexico, and distinguished guests: (speaks in
Spanish.) Let me continue in my somewhat better English, Mr.
Today I am pleased to report that we have finished a
meeting of the highest ranking U.S.-Mexican counterdrug
delegation ever assembled. The meeting was extremely productive.
Under the leadership of Secretary Albright, Secretary Gurria,
Attorneys General Madrazo and Reno, and the other members of the
high-level contact group, we engaged one another in an atmosphere
of trust, mutual respect and dedication and cooperation. We have
set a standard that will serve us well.
The two of you as Presidents decided last March that
it was appropriate to form this high-level contact group in order
to bring a consistent Cabinet-level focus to our shared drug
problem. Over the past year we have worked continuously to
develop a shared viewpoint of the drug threat, and a consensus on
how to make progress against its full cooperation.
Today we are releasing a binational drug threat
assessment that outlines that shared view of the drug problem.
Its major findings include, first, a recognition that illicit
drug abuse, traffic and production pose serious threats to the
national sovereignty and citizens of our two nations; second, an
understanding of the effect that U.S. demand for illegal drugs
has on international drug trafficking; third, an assessment of
drug production and trafficking activities in our two nations;
fourth, estimates of the scope of drug-related activities, such
as money laundering and arms trafficking. And then, finally, the
threat assessment as an appreciation of the social and criminal
consequences of drug abuse and trafficking in our two nations.
This threat assessment we believe is a candid
assessment of the nature of the problems we must cooperatively
solve. Its very candor reflects the seriousness of our joint
commitment to better protect our peoples and our social and
political institutions from the drug menace.
Please allow me to briefly summarize how the United
States intends to do its part to eliminate the drug threat.
First, we will continue to make our absolute priority the
reduction of U.S. demand for illegal drugs. We recognize that
the $50 billion our U.S. citizens spend on cocaine, heroin,
methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs are a major part of
the equation whose sum is crime, corruption and death.
However, over the past decade, the United States has
reduced the number of U.S. drug users by one half. Casual
cocaine use has dropped by 75 percent. We want every U.S.
citizen to understand that when they purchase an illegal drug
they are initiating a change reaction whose effects are felt in
Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Thailand and all the other countries that
are afflicted by international drug criminals.
We also intend to continue enforcing our extremely
tough antidrug laws. We will not tolerate drug trafficking or
predatory behavior by chronic drug users or traffickers. We are
serious about using our criminal justice system to break the
cycle of drugs and crime. We will also incorporate treatment and
prevention programs in our criminal justice system to further
reduce the number of casual and chronic drug users.
Finally, we will continue to support cooperative
antidrug efforts such as this U.S.-Mexican partnership and other
regional counterdrug efforts. We understand that few nations can
stand up to this international problem by themselves. We
recognize we will only succeed by working together.
We have also submitted for the two President's joint
consideration a declaration of alliance that will orient the
joint U.S.-Mexico response to this serious drug problem. We
believe it is important to publicly highlight the principles on
which we intend to move forward. Our joint counterdrug efforts
will be marked by absolute respect for the sovereignty and
territorial jurisdiction of our two nations, and also an
integrated approach and an adherence to the rule of law in both
Through this binational drug threat assessment we
pledge to vigorously pursue a comprehensive counterdrug effort
that will better protect the citizens of our two great nations.
And now, with your permission, Attorney General
Madrazo and I will formally present you with the Spanish and
English versions of our binational drug threat assessment.
(The assessment is presented.) (Applause.)
ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO: Presidents Zedillo and
Clinton, Secretaries Gurria and Albright, and other distinguished
guests: It is with great pleasure that I present to you the
conclusions of the working group on migration and consular
Judging from these conclusions and my experience
with this working group over the last several years, I can attest
that it is a group true to its name; it works very, very hard.
It has proven to be an invaluable forum for frank and
constructive exchange on a broad range of migration matters, and
for producing concrete actions and strong and enduring
relationships. The proof of the strength of our relationship is
that there are times when we agree to disagree, but we keep the
Mexico is the source country for the largest number
of legal immigrants to the United States. We are a nation of
immigrants and we are proud of that tradition. From our
diversity we gain our strength. At the same time, in order to
keep avenues for legal immigration open, we must be able to
enforce our laws against illegal immigration.
Over the last year, the working group has served as
a forum for shared views on the new immigration law. The new
immigration law gives the United States important tools for
protecting our borders, for enforcing sanctions against those who
exploit individuals in the workplace, for penalizing smugglers
who prey upon people's hopes and dreams, and for removing
criminal aliens and others whose right to remain in the country
During the course of the year, Secretary Gurria has
vigorously represented his government's concerns with the new
law. We have appreciated these perspectives. We have shared our
implementing procedures in detail and done our best to address
many of your government's concerns. We, like Mexico, recognize
the sovereign right of every state to formulate and enforce its
As we have told Secretary Gurria, there is no
question that while the new immigration law changes the way the
INS does its work, our commitment to sustaining our immigration
tradition does not change. We are committed to implementing the
new law in a way that is fair and humane. We will respect the
dignity and human rights of all Mexican nationals and others
affected by the law. All individuals will receive due process of
law. There will be no targeting of nationalities. We will
continue our special concern for the needs of children and
families. We will not tolerate abuse of migrants.
We are committed to implementing the new law in a
way that fully honors our bilateral obligations, particularly
with respect to guaranteeing consular access to our respective
nationals. The memorandum of understanding on consular
protection, signed here in Mexico City last year, signifies our
shared commitment to principles of consular protection and for
protecting the safety and the security of both our nationals as
they travel between our beautiful nations.
We have shared with your government the broad
outlines of an agreement negotiated last week between the
executive and legislative branches concerning a balanced U.S.
budget. This agreement, which must now be enacted into law, will
restore eligibility for certain federal benefits for certain
legal immigrants in the United States.
We share a commitment to reduce violence at the
border, to protect victims of traffickers and to combat forgers
of documents. We will continue to develop effective mechanisms
for information and exchange, and we will strengthen the
consultations mechanisms between INS and Mexican consuls to
ensure that if problems occur there is a way to solve them. We
have agreed to hold a special series of meetings in the fall to
further discuss implementation of the new law.
We are also following through on the regional plan
of action we set into motion last year to combat migrant
trafficking on a regional front. The Regional Conference on
Migration, another concrete expression of the success of our
dialogue, and so successfully chaired by the Mexican government
last year, strengthened our efforts to protect human rights and
develop new ways to address the migration issue in a
comprehensive and cooperative manner.
We look forward to the results of the Binational
Commission study and will have a special summer meeting to
discuss this report. What we learn from the binational study
will help to further strengthen our partnership in addressing the
broad range of migration issues and allow us to continue building
a vision for the future of our shared border.
Thank you, Mr. President.
SECRETARY GURRIA: Mr. Presidents, a high priority
has been attached to migration on our bilateral agenda, and as
well as the respect and protection of migratory workers, human
and labor rights. The issue involves the quality of life of
millions of people, the integrity of their families and their
dignity. In this area, as in none other of our complex bilateral
relations, our dialogue has had to overcome conflicting
approaches and differing strategies.
Our starting point -- our common starting point has
been acknowledging that every country has the right to determine
and enforce its migratory laws in keeping with its own interests
and in compliance with international law regarding human rights.
Nevertheless, with the exception of this coincidence, our
policies have diverged. For many years, while one country
favored containment measures, the other broadened and
strengthened the mechanisms to protect migrant workers.
That is why, since the beginning of President
Zedillo's administration, we adopted a different approach within
the working group on migration and consular affairs. We begin an
process of dialogue and permanent consultation in different
fields, such as facilitating orderly crossings between the border
communities, the repatriation of migrants, the fight against
trafficking in human beings, regional cooperation on migratory
issues and, especially, consular protection of the human rights
of our Mexican nationals.
In this regard, Mexico highly values the signing on
May 7, 1996 of the memorandum of understanding on consulate
protection of nationals and the creation of consultation
mechanisms between the INS regional agents and Mexican consuls
based in the United States.
However, this has been insufficient. Today, we
start a new era in bilateral cooperation on migratory issues,
which will gain unprecedented momentum as a result of the joint
declaration that Presidents Zedillo and Clinton have decided to
This new era will be characterized by a spirit of
cooperation that favors consultation over unilateral action. As
a result of our Presidents' directives or mandates, we have set
the common goal of adopting a comprehensive approach toward
migration, taking into account the economic, social and cultural
causes, as well as its effect on both sides of the border.
We will have as guiding principles the respect for
human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migratory
status and the observance of the bilateral and multilateral
commitments of both of our governments. The mandate of the
Presidents is quite clear, to carry out a more in-depth dialogue
on every aspect of this phenomenon, widening our consultations on
the policies we have adopted, as well as to create and implement
new cooperation mechanisms in this field.
Thus, the working group has agreed to hold an
extraordinary meeting, a special meeting to evaluate the results
of the binational study on migration, which our government
commissioned to experts from both countries and that after over
two years will be delivered in the following weeks.
It was also decided that the INS carry out new
regional consultations, that is between the INS and our consuls
regarding the enforcement of the new migratory laws of the United
States. We also agreed to continue our dialogue, which has
already produced important results on the concerns of the Mexican
government regarding the principle of family reunification and
the need of especially vulnerable groups such as women and
We are first to acknowledge the efforts undertaken
by President Clinton's administration with Congress in order to
restore eligibility of certain legal immigrants to certain
federal benefits. If approved, this measure will benefit a
significant number of Mexicans residing in the United States.
We would like to express our deep appreciation to
Janet Reno, Doris Meissner and their colleagues for their
unwavering disposition for dialogue on this issue. We will
endeavor to abide by the directives of both our Presidents and
next year we will report to them on our progress in this area.
In the third part of this session we will present a
report of the different subjects of the Binational Commission.
We will give the report to Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State
of the United States of America.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: President Clinton, President
Zedillo, distinguished members of the Mexican and American
Cabinets, members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen: I am
pleased to add to the reports you have already received on the
results of this meeting of our Binational Commission.
I say at the outset that the cooperation you see
reflected in the results of our meetings here is also seen more
broadly in the international arena. Particularly in recent
years, the United States and Mexico have been able to work
together on issues of regional and global importance, from
extending the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to supporting the
historic movement towards democracy and social justice in Central
America. For that, and for the strong working relationship we
have developed in a number of areas, I want publicly to thank and
express my admiration for my colleague, Foreign Minister Gurria.
Closer to home, we have focused our attention on the
many ways we can cooperate through the Binational Commission to
enhance the security, prosperity, health and quality of life of
people on both sides of our shared borders. During the last 24
hours, the Commission's 14 working groups have discussed a wide
range of issues and achieved concrete results.
For example, we confirmed grants of $170 million
from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the North
American Development Bank for projects to clean and preserve the
waters along our border. We finalized arrangements for the
construction of a new bridge between Brownsville and Matamoros.
We committed ourselves to two new technical assistance agreements
to improve our cooperation in civil aviation, and we agreed to
inaugurate joint research on endangered species in the Gulf of
All this is in addition to the major progress that I
expect the Foreign Minister will cite with respect to water
treatment plants along the border, expansion of the Fulbright-
Garcia Robles exchange program in agricultural trade.
Regarding the border, while we have an excellent
record of cooperation on labor and environmental issues, we both
agree more needs to be done. We agreed that the Foreign
Ministers would coordinate a working group which will include
labor and environmental ministers to report back within 90 days
on recommendations for enhanced cooperation.
It is important to point out that as a result of
NAFTA, Mexico is selling more of its goods and services in the
United States, and the United States is selling more in Mexico.
That translates into more jobs and greater prosperity in both
countries, and demonstrates that in our era, and especially in a
relationship between neighbors, economic growth is not a zero-sum
As you have heard, we also had intensive discussions
on our common fight against narcotics trafficking and on the
difficult issue of migration. The broad range of issues on which
we cooperate gives confidence that we can reach full and
effective understanding on these most difficult issues as well.
The United States and Mexico are neighbors because of the border
we share. But we are united because of the values we share. We
proceed from a common foundation of respect for each other as
democracies and as sovereign nations, and from a commitment to
apply our laws correctly and humanely.
The Binational Commission gives us the opportunity
to take stock of the interactions among our government officials,
businesses and citizens that are occurring constantly. Every
day, more and more, our peoples visit, study, work and conduct
business with each other. It is what they do, more even than
what our governments do, that will continue to bring our
countries together and make our unique partnership work.
As we proceed we need to remember that we are part
of an historic process. The seeds of cooperation we plant now
will not always bear fruit quickly, but by tending all aspects of
our relationship with care, we will provide ongoing benefits for
our people and a firm basis for even greater progress in the
years ahead. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER GURRIA: Ladies and gentlemen,
nothing illustrates better the importance of both nations
attached to our bilateral relations as does this plenary session
of the Binational Commission headed by our Presidents, President
Zedillo, President Clinton, and with so many members of their
Cabinets in attendance. There is no better indication of the
political will to rebuild closer ties or the decision to improve
our cooperation and to solve our differences than this Binational
Commission. It is clear proof of mature relations and mutual
Political and economic relations between Mexico and
the United States have changed. They have come closer, from
aloofness to commitment, from short-term solutions to diplomatic
consultations at the highest level, from a lacking of order to
having well-organized dialogues. This is evident in the hundreds
of issues addressed by the 14 working groups that held their
sessions yesterday. I would like to comment on the most
In the field of border cooperation, the most
important are the implementation of the environmental program of
Border 21, the binational water treatment plant at Nuevo Laredo
in San Diego, the two new border ports and an agreement to start
building a third border port.
In this way, we will continue to work to modernize
our border and to provide a more efficient infrastructure. We
have agreed to promote a new, more humane and civilized vision of
our common border in the eve of the 21st century. Our objective
is to promote a border which has better management and which
favors a balanced community infrastructure, the development of
goods and services, a movement of people, goods exchanges and
cultural and other aspects of commercial -- in this area.
A working group was created in this regard. It
included the ministers of the environment, and in a period of 90
days, they will present a report on the progress achieved in
reaching this common goal.
Legal affairs, antinarcotics cooperation and
migration issues have already been presented to you. We will
shortly receive instructions from both Presidents on the
The Group on Trade and Investment made an in-depth
analysis of NAFTA. There are logically and inevitably some
differences which are being dealt with in accordance with the
treaty's own rules. Nevertheless, the balance is positive and
clearly shows that NAFTA is working well. Furthermore, the
Fiscal and Customs Affairs group has dealt with some
irregularities and proposed tax reductions in order to strengthen
trade between our countries, and has facilitated the flow of
goods across our common border.
In financial aspects, cooperation has been
exceptional, as is clearly shown by the support given to Mexico
and by its early payment. The same can be said of the work being
done in the field of money laundering. Additionally, mechanisms
were discussed to jointly promote investment and tourism.
Important progress has also been made in the Group
on Agriculture, such as the lifting of barriers to Mexican
exports of tomato, avocado, wheat and Mexican pork products, as
well as citrus and cherries from the United States. Progress is
also being made regarding Mexican exports of poultry products.
In the Group on Fisheries, priority has been
attached to jointly promoting the measures which will allow
Mexico to resume its tuna exports. The process is already
underway in the U.S. Congress and the House of Representatives.
In that regard to the Group on Transportation,
progress has been made toward the opening of our borders in this
field in compliance with NAFTA provisions. Both Secretaries of
Transportation agreed to build bridges of understanding and
cooperation with a view to the 21st century.
In terms of telecommunications, agreements were
reached in the field of satellite services which could well
become models for hemisphere cooperation.
In the Energy Group work is focused on investment
opportunities resulting from restructuring programs, particularly
in the power and petro-chemical sectors. Also, cooperation
projects involving renewable energy and the efficient use of
energy are also under consideration.
The Group on Labor has worked based on the North
American Labor Cooperation Agreement, and here we can highlight
the exchange of information on employment, training, safety and
hygiene in the working place.
In the field of education, the bilateral working
group has made progress on education for migrants, attention to
disabled people, education for adults, bilingual education and
remote education. This last field is one in which we have close
to 500 cooperation projects between Mexican and U.S. academic
In the cultural field, we must underscore the
Mexico-U.S. Commission for Education and Cultural Exchange, which
will make it possible to increase by 60 percent the number of
scholarship holders by 1998, which will make our Fulbright-Garcia
Robles program one of the largest Fulbright programs in the
world. Through the Mexico-U.S. Foundation for Science and
Technology, we have underway several scientific and technological
For its part, the Mexico-U.S. Fund for Culture has
undertaken 283 cultural exchange programs since its
establishment. I would like to underscore the great success of
the Olmeca exhibit in Washington at the National Gallery and the
master works of the National Gallery exhibited for several months
here in Mexico City at the National Museum of Anthropology, and
in both cases were enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of
Mr. Presidents, yesterday we signed 11 bilateral
agreements on the protection of natural resources and wildlife,
education and cultural exchanges, aviation, the detection of
illicit financial operations, an enlargement of bridges and the
creation of border infrastructure and liaison mechanisms.
It is impossible to be fair to the work of the
members of both Cabinets and even less to the wealth and quality
of their common projects. But beyond numbers and beyond the
diversity of our ties lie the institutions we have built to
foster dialogues and the goodwill to cooperate. And lastly, I
would like to express my appreciation to Mrs. Albright for her
invaluable support in the work we have carried out.
And with this presentation, we come to an end of the
report to the President. His Excellency William Clinton, the
President of the United States of America will address you at
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, thank you very much.
Members of the Mexican Cabinet and the American Cabinet, thank
you for your reports and for the specific concrete efforts that
you are making to move our relationship forward and to help our
Secretary Albright commented that the work of the
Binational Commission was so broad because our relationship is so
broad. This is a truly extraordinary thing to have this many
people in our Cabinet, this many people in your Cabinet all
working together on a broad range of issues.
Let me say, Mr. President, as you know, I'm
particularly gratified also to be joined here by the strong
bipartisan delegations from the United States Congress that are
here from many states along the border, as well as Governor
Miller of Nevada, the Chairman of the Governors Association in
the United States. So we're here because we know that we have to
make this relationship work together beyond party politics,
within our countries and across our borders.
In the 21st century, we want our border to be our
bond, and we want it to be rooted in a mutual commitment to the
exchange of people and commerce across the border and to our
fidelity to the rule of law. The reports we have heard today are
fully consistent with that objective.
With regard to narcotics, I was very impressed by
the drug threat assessment done jointly, by the proposal for an
alliance -- and I think the word is well-taken -- it must be an
alliance undertaken in good faith and mutual respect; by the news
that the alliance will actually articulate a strategy and
specific tactics for implementing the objectives of the alliance
by the end of the year.
For our part, we in the United States know that we
have to reduce our demand and General McCaffrey will tell you,
we've presented the largest counternarcotics budget ever, but we
also think we're doing more of the right things. The Attorney
General is working very hard to pass the right kind of juvenile
justice legislation. And, as perhaps many of you in Mexico know,
we have been quite successful in reducing drugs use among people
whom we thought were the biggest problem: young Americans aged
18 to 34. Drug use in our country is going up among Americans
even younger, under 18. So we are devoting an enormous amount of
time and effort to that problem, and we hope we can show progress
on our side.
I am confident, from the efforts which have been
made and the statements which were made to me by the President
earlier that Mexico is equally committed to making progress on
this side of the border.
With regard to the migration report, I think it
strikes the right balance. The Attorney General has explained
what we are trying to do in the United States on this issue. I
think we all know we have a deep stake in making the border
crossings work, and we in the United States, in our government,
have no interest in causing any unfair or undue harm to
immigrants in our country. We are a nation of immigrants. We
have been deeply enriched by them. They have made us the fifth
largest Hispanic country in the world, with 22 million Americans
now of Hispanic descent. But we know that we also have to
enforce the integrity of our immigration laws at the border, in
the workplace, in the criminal justice system, and we are
attempting to strike the right balance.
As regards to the other issues, let me just say very
briefly, I welcome the specific announcement on clean wastewater.
We are trying to show our good faith by committing more funds to
the environmental projects. We are concerned that the joint
commission has approved something like 16 projects of which only
four have been approved for financing by the North American
Development Bank, and we're committed to doing something about
I'm especially pleased by the educational exchange
comments and the commitment to increased educational exchange. I
think that is very important. I'm very pleased that there will
be a report back to us within 90 days from the relevant Cabinet
officers on what we can do more to implement the labor and
And finally, let me say, Mr. President, I'm glad to
see that our Cabinet members are reaffirming the fact that NAFTA
has worked. There are some people still who assert in the United
States that it has not; but it has. If you compare what has
happened in the last three years with what happened the last time
Mexico had some economic distress, you see that American exports
have fared much better and the Mexican economy has come back much
quicker and much stronger, and NAFTA is clearly partly
responsible for that. So I'm glad to see that our Cabinet
members are hanging in there and trying to get the evidence out
because I think it's clear that we did the right thing.
No one issue defines this relationship. The scope
of it presents us with unique challenges and opportunities. It's
vital that we work together, but I feel much better about our
shared future because of the work that our Cabinet ministers are
doing in this unprecedented forum. And I thank them for it and I
thank you for hosting us today.
PRESIDENT ZEDILLO: Your Excellency, President
Clinton, distinguished Members of the Congress of the United
States of America, Governor, ladies and gentlemen, members of the
Cabinet of President Clinton, ladies and gentlemen: It is a
great pleasure for me to reiterate to all of you that you are
most cordially welcome here in Mexico.
It is particularly pleasing for me to be able to
cochair this session of conclusions of the Binational Commission
to President Clinton. This underscores the importance that both
governments attach to the bilateral relations between our two
countries. This is the very important geographic and economic
relations, socially, interculturally intense. At our borders,
there is a daily average of close to 1 million legal crossings,
and there are trade exchanges which last year represented close
to $150 billion.
Due to its size, complexity and dynamism, our border
reflects opportunity, the distinct diversity and the talents of
two neighbors who are proud of their identity and of their
effort. Along our border, we see and recognize diverse cultures
and multiple traditions, different beliefs and even contrasting
forms of life. Above all, on both sides of our border, today we
are working together so that the relationship between Mexicans
and Americans is based on respect, friendship and reciprocal
This intensive work is expressed in hundreds of
meetings every year between the representatives of both
governments, and in hundreds of actions which both federal
governments attach great priority to. In this regard, I would
like to very sincerely, personally recognize the particular
interest and priority that President Clinton has attached to all
aspects of our bilateral relationship. To a great extent, thanks
to that interest and that special attention, we are now able to
reach very important and different agreements.
The agreements resulting from this binational
relationship is based on fundamental principles, principles such
as legal equality, the principles of negotiating solutions to
differences and procuring efficient cooperation mechanisms;
principles such as the protection of -- and safety of families,
multiplying opportunities for every man and for every women, and
full development of our peoples in a framework of peace,
democracy and justice.
The work of this commission, the agreements
undersigned and those we will sign in the future show that we are
making progress in establishing institutional channels for the
relations between those countries. This increasing
institutionalization of our relation is the result of the
principles we share and of the efforts of those which make up the
Binational Commission. Thus, I congratulate you quite sincerely.
It is true that on both sides of our border, there
are voices which prefer to turn a deaf ear than to hold an open
dialogue. They prefer recrimination rather than constructive
cooperation. A very important task that we share, however, is to
persuade those voices with effective results and with significant
agreements like those that we've accomplished thus far.
Now we are able to prove that in peace and in
respect, in cooperation, Mexico and the United States will be
much more successful than through ill will and reproachment.
Little by little, we have a long-term vision. We begin to see
constructive attitudes, dialogue and especially, above all,
At present, nowadays, respect is the basis of a
solid friendship, a long-lasting friendship between the Mexicans
and the Americans. Today, the respect that you, President
Clinton, have encouraged from the White House is the cornerstone
of the relations between our two countries. Today, this respect
encourages us to take advantage of our commonality in order to
work in benefit of two great peoples -- the peoples of Mexico and
the peoples of the United States of America.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
President Clinton's Tour of Mexico, Costa Rica,
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