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Crime-Fighting Agreement Signed in Mexico City - 2001-08-31


Mexican President Vicente Fox has signed an agreement on crime-fighting, with the head of Mexico City's government, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The two men put aside their political differences for a moment to address a problem that has undermined the confidence and security of millions of Mexican citizens.

At their meeting in Mexico City's Municipal Government Center, just across the Zocalo plaza from the National Palace, the two leaders spoke in harmony about the fight against crime. President Fox said the nearly 20 million people who live in the metropolitan area need to see their government officials working together against the violence and insecurity that plagues the city. He said the time for excuses was past and that the two governments have agreed, from this day forward, to work closely together against crime. The Mexican president said there would be no truce in this battle against what he referred to as "the common enemy."

For his part, Mr. Lopez Obrador said that even though crime rates had come down in his city in the past few years, the levels of delinquency are still much too high. He said Mexico City has yet to realize its goal of creating a secure urban area, free of fear. Mr. Lopez Obrador added crime is still causing great pain and anger in the city and that the fight against it must continue.

The Mexico City leader did sneak in one political comment, however, saying that current economic policies have contributed to the rise in crime. He is from the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, which opposes much of the free-market policy implemented by Mr. Fox, who comes from the conservative National Action Party.

In the agreement signed by the two men, the federal government is committed to building a federal prison in Mexico City. The pact also contains commitments for both city police and federal agencies to share information on various types of crimes and criminals.

On Wednesday, a prominent group of business and industrial leaders called on President Fox to do more in the fight against crime. They said the country's bad reputation has driven away potential investors. President Fox is expected to make crime a major theme in his report to the nation address on Saturday.