The White House Briefing Room

February 15, 1999


3:22 P.M. EST


                                THE WHITE HOUSE

                         Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Merida, Yucatan, Mexico)
For Immediate Release                        February 15, 1999     

                               PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                          ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO,
                            GENERAL BARRY MCCAFFREY,
                             Fiesta Americana Hotel
                          Merida, Yucatan, Mexico 			

3:22 P.M. EST
	SECRETARY ALBRIGHT:  In our meetings today, President Clinton and 
President Zedillo, and half a dozen members of each Cabinet, discussed literally 
dozens of issues on which the United States and Mexico are good-faith results 
oriented partners.  I should also mention that reflecting the breadth of the 
relationship between our nations, I was particularly pleased that members of the 
U.S. Congress and the Mexican Congress joined us here to hold a meeting of their 
	Let me give you an overview of our discussions here today, and then 
Sandy Berger and Janet Reno will speak more about the bilateral and law 
enforcement issues.
	The two Presidents reviewed global and regional financial developments, 
looking both at ways to support sound economic policies in our hemisphere and at 
bilateral trade issues.  They discussed migration, which remains a challenge for 
both nations, and renewed their commitment to fight trafficking in human beings 
and to protect the human rights of all migrants.  And they talked about law 
enforcement and anti-narcotics issues.  	
	Our cooperation is not ideal for either side, but its success is 
critical to the future of both.  So our Presidents continue to look for ways to 
improve the process, pledging today to conclude a new agreement on precursor 
chemicals and across-the-board to focus clearly on what works and what does not.
	The two Presidents also discussed environmental cooperation, which is 
critical to improving our citizens' quality of life and to safeguarding our 
continents' ecological treasures.  During our signing ceremony at the Hacienda 
Temozon, Cabinet members signed a variety of agreements on subjects as varied as 
fighting wildfires and fighting tuberculosis.  We also discussed cutting 
emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting Mexico's biodiversity.  And we 
agreed to step up environmental cooperation along our border, and reviewed 
progress on the NAFTA agreements on labor and the environment.  We also agreed 
to expand co-chairing for U.S. and Mexican airlines.  Already, each nation 
receives more flights from the other than from any other nation.

	Finally, Foreign Secretary Green and I reviewed our regional and global 
cooperation, which is an increasingly important tool for promoting our shared 
interests.  We signed today an agreement on development cooperation in our 
hemisphere.  And this will allow us to coordinate our assistance, particularly 
to our neighbors who are still struggling with the effects of 

hurricanes Mitch and Georges.  
	  No relationship the United States has with any nation 
affects the daily lives of more American than do our ties with 
Mexico.  And that's why our Presidents have met 10 times during 
their tenure.  And that's why we continue to work together on 
such a broad range of issues, some where a partnership is close 
and easy and others where it's, frankly, difficult.  The results 
of today's meetings show beyond a doubt why our efforts are 
	  Thank you.  And I think now -- Sandy?

	  MR. BERGER:  Let me spend a moment on the agreements 
that were finalized today and that were the subject    of most of 
this discussion in the larger meeting that took place between the 
Cabinet Secretaries on both sides.

	  Secretary Albright has mentioned the civil aviation 
agreement, which will liberalize air transportation.  This will 
essentially provide perhaps the largest cochairing area in the 
entire world and will have enormous benefit for travelers and 
airlines between the two countries.  
	  A second agreement that was signed by the Attorney 
General and by the Foreign Secretary -- I'm sure she'll comment 
on this later -- involves cooperation against border violence, to 
help prevent incidents of violence along the border by developing 
procedures among law enforcement agencies who are responding to 
calls for assistance, developing training programs and 
formalizing communications between the two governments.  

	  A third agreement that was announced today involves 
U.S.-Mexican economic cooperation, a new financing agreement to 
support U.S. exports to Mexico.  The Ex-Im Bank of the United 
States announced -- Mr. Harmon was here -- that they will provide 
up to $4 billion in export financing over the next two years to 
support Mexico's purchase of U.S. goods and services.  This is 
important for both countries, because with the international 
financial crisis Mexico has had difficulties in terms of access 
to capital markets, and, of course, it will be good for the 
United States because this will increase our exports to Mexico, 
which are already growing at about 11 percent a year.

	  Another agreement reached today involved cooperation in 
law enforcement.  Again, the Attorney General may comment on this 
later, but it involves enhanced consultation involving 
cross-border law enforcement activities and also an offer by the 
United States to provide technical assistance in training the new 
federal preventative police force, which the Mexican government 
announced last week that it was forming in an ambitious 
undertaking to try to improve its capabilities in the war against 

	  There is, in addition, an agreement to work together, 
as we did when the fires were taking place here in Mexico, to 
work on fire prevention.  The President announced an additional 
$1.2 million towards a $5.7 million commitment by the United 
States to support Mexican efforts to improve fire management -- 
this is essentially in forest areas -- and alternatives to the 
slash and burn agriculture and logging practices that have caused 
many of these problems.

	  General McCaffrey, I'm sure, will comment about an 
important step in our drug cooperation, and that is the 
establishment of binational performance measures of effectiveness 
that is concrete, measurable, objective, joint commitments that 
will mark and measure success going forward in the fight against 

	  Finally, the President and President Zedillo agreed to 
advance our already quite pervasive cooperation in the health 
area by cooperating in controlling and monitoring the spread of 
drug-resistant tuberculosis, which is a resurgent health threat 
both in Mexico and in the United States.  And all of these were 
discussed either between the two Presidents or in the meetings 
between the delegations.

	  General McCaffrey.

	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  Very briefly, there were two things 
worthy of comment.  The high level Contact Group released today 
the performance measures of effectiveness.  And they're available 
for you in English.  We have been working at this for about a 
year.  It is our follow-on to the notion that we have a joint 
strategy built around 16 alliance principles.  Now what we're 
trying to do is in a practical way describe how do we implement, 
evaluate and monitor what we're doing.  And this is it.  And 
there's 82 variables we're going to track. 

	  We hope we got it right.  A year from now we'll know.  
Some of them already have data bases associated with them.  We're 
going to start monitoring patiently, month by month, and build on 
these.  This took a lot of effort inside the U.S. government to 
agree to it, never mind inside the Mexican government.  We're 
pleased that it's on the table and we can now use it as a tool.

	  The second thing we talked about, Minister del la 
Fuente and his delegation and I early this morning had a meeting 
to review the progress of the last year of demand reduction 
cooperation.  As many of you are aware, we brought together the 
first binational commission to study the issue of reduction of 
use of drugs in both countries in El Paso eight months ago.  
Today we are jointly announcing that on June 23rd in Tijuana, the 
Mexicans will host the second annual meeting.  
	  We have some, we think, solid ways now to enhance this 
partnership in terms of common epidemiological data collection in 
terms of sharing of scientific and medical information on drug 
treatment, and indeed on cooperation in drug prevention programs 
among the 10 million people that live in close proximity to that 

	  We also continue to work on the issue -- Minister 
Labastida brought a delegation last week to Mexico to lay out 
their own thinking on a $500 million, two-year effort to enhance 
training of Mexican anti-drug institutions, and indeed to bring 
aboard a lot of new technology.  And so I took the delegation 
over to their embassy in Washington, listened to their thinking, 
and now we'll try and build upon their own ideas.

	  All in all, we think we are on track in the coming two 
years to turn over a drug cooperation enterprise that is 
significantly better than the one we found.  That's what we were 
up to.

	  MS. BRAINARD:  I'm going to spend about 30 seconds or 
maybe a minute on the economic relationship.  President Zedillo 
and President Clinton met at a time when the state of the 
economic relationship is extremely strong.  As Secretary Albright 
suggested, the two Presidents talked about their mutual interest 
in financial stability in the region and the importance of every 
country in the region continuing on the reform path.  

	  In Mexico, that continued commitment to reform has 
yielded one of the strongest economies in the hemisphere this 
year with 4.6 percent growth.  In fact, around the world, the 
U.S.-Mexican economic relationship has been one of our bright 
spots.  Trade with Mexico has helped to insulate us from the 
Asian financial crisis while exports to the Pacific Rim were down 
19 percent.  Our exports to Mexico were up by roughly 11 percent.  
And a similar story can be told for Mexico.

	  The other thing that the Presidents talked about was 
how remarkably strong NAFTA has proven to be in its fifth year.  
Over the course of the last five years, Mexico has become our 
second largest export market, surpassing Japan, an economy which 
is 12 times larger and has contributed one-fifth of our overall 
export growth, which as many of you know has been one of the most 
important contributors to our overall growth story.  
	  The other thing is that a million American jobs now 
depend on trade with Mexico.  That's up 45 percent since the 
beginning of NAFTA.  So we're meeting at a good time, and as 
Sandy Berger mentioned earlier, the Presidents agreed to 
undergird and expand that strong economic relationship with two 
very significant agreements -- the EX-IM Bank agreement will 
permit exports to continue flowing, and the $4 billion worth of 
credit support we estimate will support about 60,000 jobs in the 
United States.
	  The civil aviation agreement also is a very good one, 
which all of the U.S. airlines have been very enthusiastic about.  
Just to give you a sense of how many more opportunities will be 
created, not just in the airline area, but also in tourism and in 
related areas, by this joint marketing and sales agreement -- 
there are currently about 100 route structures between Mexican 
and U.S. cities, and there are  	10,000 pending 
applications.  If those applications are realized, it will become 
the largest air services market for the United States.



	  Q    Ms. Reno, President Clinton today said that no one 
is winning the war on drugs.  You've been involved in the 
prosecution end of this for years.  Can it, in fact, ever be won?

	  ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  I think that working together 
under the President's and General McCaffrey's leadership, we have 
instituted in the United States an effort aimed at demand 
reduction, aimed at enforcement and intervention.  It won't 
happen overnight, but I think we can substantially reduce the use 
of illegal drugs in our country.
	  Q    What about the supply --

	  ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  I am impressed with the Mexican 
commitment to doing something about it, to recognizing that it 
can't happen overnight, that sometimes there are more 
frustrations then there are victories.  I've been in this for a 
long time and I understand how long it takes.  But they are 
committed, they're dedicated to doing it, and I think they can 
succeed given time.
	  Q    General McCaffrey, the President said today there 
had been increased cooperation and he said Mexico should not be 
penalized when they're making this effort.  Isn't it fair to 
conclude that the Secretary of State will recommend 

	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  It seems to me what I have been 
engaged in personally for three years is building partnership and 
cooperation.  The certification process is the federal law, we 
will comply with it.  What we're trying to achieve is continuing 
some of the positive data that's on the table.  We believe their 
eradication program is successful.

	  You know, as the CIA looks at these satellite 
photographs -- there are 18 million hectors of growing area --  
it's clear just from watching the patterns what ends up to be 
about 5,500 hectors of opium that these people are fearful that 
the PGR and the army is going to try and eradicate their crop.  
We think they're doing their job.  We also think the Mexican Navy 
and the Coast Guard are cooperating.  We believe there is 
exchange of intelligence.  We believe they are making an effort 
on demand reduction.  We believe they will invest in interdiction 
on their southern border.  

	  Again, I wouldn't characterize anything that we're 
doing as aimed at 1 March, but two years from now, is this a more 
balanced, productive, counterdrug cooperative effort --  I think 
that's where we're headed.

	  Q    Is the answer to that question yes?

	  Q    The standards that you announced today, can they 
be used at some future point to set binding targets that a  
certification process could be --

	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  We should be careful on our 
language.  I urge you to look at those 82 variables.  They're 
very carefully constructed.  Some are tighter than others.  Some 
of the targets are due as early as September.  They're right 
around the corner.  There are deliverables there.  We will be 
able to measure what we're accomplishing.  But the goal of this 
isn't so much a grading sheet as trying to keep us both on this 
cooperative track.  But you're going to find that there are some 
hard objectives there.  What we've said is a year from today 
we'll go back, June of 2000, and look and see if these 82 were 
right.  But I think we've got it just about right for now.

	  Q    General McCaffrey, what do the provisions call for 
if you don't meet the goals at each of these levels.  And how 
does this proposal really advance the relationship between Mexico 
and the U.S.?  Because about a year ago you all presented these 
very same measures and had theoretically agreed to them.

	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  Well, let me, if I may, now, change 
the assertion.  This is what we did a year ago -- it's a strategy 
and it's taken us another year to try and turn it into concrete 
performance measures.  I might add, to be fair, we got our U.S. 
strategy done two years ago; we finally got our performance 
measures of effectiveness agreed on under the law about two weeks 

	  So there's no question that it is hard work to get two 
sovereign democratic nations to agree on practical ways of 
cooperating across a range of these counterdrug responsibilities.  
But I think these are real documents, this is a real partnership.  
There are planes, boats, training seminars, intelligence sharing 
-- there is reality behind all of this. 

	  Q    And, again, what does it call for if, in fact, you 
don't meet the objectives you set for yourself? 
	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  Well, again, I think what we 
believe is that this is a way to keep us on track to partnership 
as opposed to calling it a grading sheet for mutual 

	  Now, we've tried to make the point to the Mexican 
authorities, which I think is a valid one, that the centerpiece 
of the President's national drug strategy -- back to the other 
point -- this cancer affecting American society, the centerpiece 
is demand reduction.  We're also aware the United States is a 
drug producing nation -- particularly methamphetamines, PCP, 
Dutch-imported MDMA, et cetera.  I think the Mexicans have now 
accepted the notion that if we're going to get through this 
10-year effort together they, too, will recognize our sort of 
binational responsibility to work against interdiction as well as 
demand reduction.

	  I think it's a much changed atmosphere from when 
Secretary Perry and I first came down here four years ago.  This 
is a new world we're dealing with, in my view.  

	  Q    General McCaffrey, could you comment, please, on 
exactly what sort of support the U.S. is offering to the Mexican 
federal police force; and also, what effect this will have in 
drug fighting?  Because the Mexicans say this is not an anti-drug 
force, they're not anti-drug police -- 
	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  I think you're talking about the 
new agency they're going to stand up?  Well, the Attorney General 
could more usefully address that.  
	  ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  As I understand it, there are 
two initiatives, one aimed at technology and other support and 
assistance to develop an intelligence capability; and, two, the 
federal preventative police force.  But I think it's all in its 
formative stage.  And what Director Freeh and I have said is that 
if we can be of assistance, if we can be supportive, if we can 
provide training and assistance, we'd like to cooperate in every 
way that we can.

	  One of the best efforts that I have seen involved 
bringing together Mexican prosecutors and investigators, together 
with U.S. prosecutors and investigators, at a session at our 
Columbia, South Carolina Advocacy Center.  We're going to repeat 
that, as I understand it, in April, here in Mexico.  And to have 
the two nations come together, learn about each other's processes 
and laws has been extraordinarily helpful in developing a 
cooperative effort along the border.

	  Q    General, is there any oversight of how the U.S. 
cooperation in the drug war is being used in Mexico?  Mexican 
human rights groups have expressed a fear that the increased -- 
General McCaffrey, I'm sorry -- that stepping up the drug war is 
increasing human rights violations within Mexico.  Do you have 
any oversight capability?  

	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  The Attorney General and I are both 
aware of that concern.  It's one I share.  Part of our program on 
the U.S. side of the border clearly has been an attempt to 
provide a more coherent law enforcement capability backed up by 
National Guard and other factors.  So we are concerned about 
protecting cross-border movement, people's lives.  And I think 
there's an absolute commitment on our part.  
	  Everything we do in this effort at the border has to be 
done in cooperation with Mexico.  It has to be open books.  When 

we talked about technology, nonintrusive detection technology, we 
gave Mexican authorities access to our technology.  They're 
buying it; they're fielding it.  I think on all of these issues    
-- every August I go down the border, go to the various critical 
points and then cross the border and listen to Mexican 
authorities.  We're trying to remain open to their concerns.

	  Q    -- human rights groups, you're talking more about 
the problems in southern Mexico where sometimes you sort of see 
-- drug interdiction are in the same place.  They're expressed 
concern that U.S. aid in the drug war is being used for other 
purposes in Mexico.  What sort of oversight does the U.S. 
government have --

	  GENERAL MCCAFFREY:  As far as we know, there's 
absolutely no evidence ever that U.S. training assistance or 
equipment has been used for anything but counterdrug operations.  
And as we get into this new era with Minister Labastida's attempt 
to bring together a very significant attempt -- you were talking 
a couple of hundred small boats, aircraft, radars, better 
intelligence -- as they move into that area, I think you'll see 
that the focus is clearly going to be on stopping this massive 
movement of drugs out of the north coast of Colombia, trying to 
get into the western Caribbean and also in the eastern Pacific 
and into Mexico.  That's what they're going to try and stop with 
this new effort.

	  Q    Could I go back one question?  This new police 
force -- is it your all's understanding that they are going to be 
involved in fighting drugs, or do they have a different mission?

	  ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  My understanding is that it is 
in formative stage and Mexican authorities should really discuss 
it so that it is done accurately and clearly.  What we have said 
is that either in the intelligence aspect of it, the initiatives 
that we discussed for this new combination of forces, we would be 
happy to assist in every way that we can.

	  Q    So you don't know?

	  ATTORNEY GENERAL RENO:  I think it would be more 
appropriate and far less presumptuous of me to let the Mexicans 
discuss it.

	  Q    Secretary Albright, one point -- you talked during 
the impeachment trial about the impact it was having in terms of 
foreign policy.  Does the fact that it's over, the uncertainty is 
over, does that make any difference at this point?  Does that 
help at all?

	  SECRETARY ALBRIGHT:  Having been with a number of 
foreign leaders yesterday, they all said that they were very glad 
that it was over and that the United States had reproven its 
	  Q    Is she running, or not?

	  MR. LOCKHART:  I think the President was particularly 
unclear on that subject today, and I have nothing to say to clear 
it up.

	  All done?  These lights are a little bit difficult on 
the sunburn.  Anything else for me?  Week ahead?  Good.  Bye, 
guys.  This was fun. 

             END                      3:50 P.M. (L)