Sunday, June 16, 2024

Zacatecas-US security agreement illegal and invalid, AMLO says

A new security agreement between the state of Zacatecas and the United States government is illegal and invalid, President López Obrador said Monday.

Citing a provision in the Mexican constitution, López Obrador said it’s “expressly prohibited” for state governments to enter into agreements with foreign governments.

However, he told reporters at his regular news conference that the federal government wouldn’t “make a fuss” because the pact announced by Zacatecas Governor David Monreal and United States Ambassador Ken Salazar last Thursday is only a verbal agreement. Monreal also clarified later on Monday that “there is no signed accord or agreement between the government of Zacatecas and the U.S. government.”

The announcement of the agreement came after what Salazar described as a “historic meeting on security in Zacatecas” involving personnel from various U.S. agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the United States Agency for International Development.

Salazar shared a graphic on Twitter highlighting how the U.S. government is collaborating with the state of Zacatecas on security issues.

“We reinforced our whole-of-government commitment to collaborating with Mexican local, state, and federal authorities, with full respect for sovereignty, to support efforts to improve security in Zacatecas,” the ambassador wrote on Twitter.

Under the agreement that he and Monreal announced, the U.S. agencies are slated to donate equipment and software to aid operations and investigations against criminal organizations that operate in Zacatecas, one of Mexico’s most violent states. They also committed to assisting the training of police and other law enforcement officials.

In a statement, Salazar stressed that “with security there is prosperity, investment arrives and trust in institutions grows.”

“We’re optimistic that we’ll achieve … [security] but maintaining coordinated, continuous and permanent work is necessary,” he said, adding that “the people of Zacatecas can count on the United States in this challenge.”

“… Our governments have the Bicentennial Framework and the High Level Security Dialogue, which will allow us to continue deepening our cooperation in Zacatecas and the entire country,” Salazar said.

His visit to Zacatecas late last week came almost two months after the U.S. State Department added the northern state to its “do not travel” list due to crime and kidnapping.

In response to reporters’ questions, López Obrador said Monday that the agreement between Zacatecas and the U.S. government is both illegal and invalid, but added that his government “has confidence in Ken Salazar.”

“He’s visiting the states and there’s a good relationship,” he said, adding that “there’s no need to do anything big” in response to the announcement of the agreement because it’s just a “statement” and “there’s nothing written down.”

The president also said he had no interest in arguing with the U.S. government. “We have to act judiciously and not fight each other [but rather] seek good relations,” López Obrador said.

“So much so that members of Mexico’s security cabinet are going to participate [in a meeting] in Washington on Thursday with their counterparts from the United States government to deal with matters of cooperation in security,” he said.

With reports from Aristegui Noticias, Reforma and El Universal 

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