Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 16:10 UK

Mexico-US states hold crime talks

Mexican soldiers in Tijuana (April 2008)
Thousands of extra troops have been deployed to fight drugs cartels

Governors from both sides of the US-Mexico border are to meet for talks aimed at boosting security, amid a wave of drug-related violence in Mexico.

The governors of California, Texas and New Mexico are to offer their support to Mexican President Felipe Calderon in his crackdown on drug gangs.

Governors of six Mexican states are to join their call for action on crime.

Some 30,000 troops and federal police have been sent to various parts of Mexico in a bid to reduce the violence.

Nearly 1,400 people have died this year across the country, as its drug cartels fight among themselves and government forces.

That figure includes at least 450 police officers and other government officials.

US appeal

The talks in Mexico City on Thursday are expected to focus on border security and measures to fight trafficking.

The coalition of governors made a similar appeal to President George W Bush for increased measures to tackle cross-border crime earlier this year.

Environmental protection and disaster response planning are also on Thursday's agenda.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said he would concentrate on strengthening the trade relationship between his state and Mexico.

The talks come a day after the prosecutor's office in Juarez reported finding 10 bodies in the space of 24 hours in northern Mexico.

According to the AFP news agency, three of the victims had been beheaded.

Machine guns

Meanwhile, federal police chief Gen Rodolfo Cruz told reporters in Culiacan on Wednesday that Mexican police needed bigger guns if they were to combat increasingly violent gangs.

Seven federal police officers were killed on Tuesday in a shoot-out with suspected drugs traffickers in Culiacan, northern Mexico.

"We need machine guns," Reuters news agency quotes Gen Cruz as saying. "Pistols are just for showing off, they do nothing."

The Mexican Attorney General, Medina Mora, has said he sees no quick end to the violence but believes the crackdown by police and soldiers is working.

The Mexican government has said the army will be used for at least another two years in the fight against the country's drug cartels.

Mexico extends army's drugs fight
28 May 08 |  Americas
Police killed in Mexico drug raid
28 May 08 |  Americas
Mexico drug-related killings soar
24 May 08 |  Americas
Gunmen kill top Mexican policemen
11 May 08 |  Americas
Country profile: Mexico
01 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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