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Clinton to Discuss More Border Cooperation on Mexico Trip


A senior U.S. official says the United States has what he called a "co-responsibility" in ending the drug-related violence that has plagued Mexico's northern border.

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will lead a high-level U.S. delegation to Mexico for a day of talks with Mexican officials.

The dialogue will also involve cooperation to strengthen law enforcement and joint efforts on the border to allow for a more fluid exchange of items and people.

Valenzuela told reporters the discussions will be held "with the utmost respect to Mexican sensibilities and Mexican sovereignty." Valenzuela stressed the partnership between the two countries, but also the fact that America and Mexico are "two distinct nations."

The one day meeting on March 23, is expected to concentrate more on security issues rather than trade.

A wave of violence has hit the U.S.-Mexican border region that includes the recent killings of three people linked to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Juarez, Mexico's most violent city, has been on the front line of President Calderon's war on drug cartels.

More than 15,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico in recent years.

Other U.S. officials expected to attend next week's meeting include Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, and officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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