March 23rd, 2010
07:26 PM ET

U.S. to broaden anti-drug program in Mexico

The Merida Initiative, a U.S. anti-narcotics aid program to Mexico, will emphasize social and economic development in addition to security aid, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on a visit to Mexico City on Tuesday.

"We are expanding the Merida Initiative beyond what it was traditionally considered to be because it is not just about security," Clinton said at a news conference with her Mexican counterpart, Patricia Espinosa. The Merida Initiative was conceived as a multi-year, $1.4 billion effort, the State Department said.

Security is key, Clinton said, but in order to combat the long-term effects of organized crime, aspects such as education and health must not be overlooked.

The broader efforts against drug cartel violence that has spread across Mexico is part of a deepening cooperation between the two countries, Espinosa said.

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