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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 January, 2005, 14:30 GMT
US and Mexico ease border tension
Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez
Washington's alert brought a sharp response from Mr Derbez
US and Mexican officials have met to try to defuse a row over security in Mexico's northern border region.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez met US Ambassador Tony Garza to address the rift caused by a US warning about violence on the Mexican border.

Mexico objected to a US warning to citizens about the risks of travelling in the area.

In a joint statement after the meeting the two sides agreed Mexico had tried to clamp down on drugs gangs.

Murders and kidnaps

Earlier in the week, Mr Garza wrote to Mr Derbez to voice concerns about the increase in violence at the border.

"Although Americans do not appear to be the specific targets of the crimes, the elevated level of violence generally has resulted in greater risks to the thousands of American citizens visiting and passing through the border region every day," he wrote.

"Increased numbers of murdered and kidnapped Americans in recent months bear this out."

Mr Derbez responded that the statement was "exaggerated" and that the US had made an "erroneous" assessment that was "outside the scope of reality".

In their joint statement they agreed that "most urban violence in the border region is caused by fighting among gangs, mostly drug traffickers, struggling for control of the narcotics trade as ever more leaders of major criminal organisations have been arrested by Mexican law enforcement officials".

Mexico raps US warning on safety
27 Jan 05 |  Americas
Country profile: Mexico
09 Dec 04 |  Country profiles

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