Calderon, Obama to Cooperate in Combating Drug Wars

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Mexican President Felipe Calderon after speaking to the media in the East Room of the White House following their meeting in Washington on March 3, 2011.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and US President Barack Obama both pledged to cooperate more in the battle against drug violence on Thursday.

We are very mindful that the battle President Calderon is fighting inside of Mexico is not just his battle, its also ours, Obama said during a joint news conference at the White House. We have to take responsibility just as hes taken responsibility Were putting more and more resources into this.

The conference comes only three weeks after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was fatally shot in northern Mexico with a gun smuggled over the border. Foreign law enforcement agents are banned by Mexican law from bearing arms while working within its borders.

The US questioned Mexicos ability to contain the drug-related violence that is spinning out of control and spilling into border states, while Mexico criticized US agencies in their inability to handle the situation.

The reality is that they [the ICE, CIA, and DEA] dont coordinate with each other, theyre rivals, Calderon told a Mexican newspaper in an interview.

The leaders announced they will phase in a plan to authorize both US and Mexican carriers to interact in cross-border operations.

Obama said he would commit to more aggressive efforts against drug consumption in the US, illegal arms shipments, and cash flow to Mexican gangs. According to Calderon, these are issues that fuel the violence in southern Mexico.

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