Opening Remarks With Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa (with interpretation)

Press Availability
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Alhondiga de Granaditas
Guanajuato, Mexico
January 24, 2011

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon to all of you. I would like to thank you so much for being at this press conference. Now the foreign affairs minister of Mexico is arriving and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are arriving here. Thank you. Now we shall hear the messages of both secretaries, and then we’re going to have a brief question-and-answer period. You have the floor, Madam Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

FOREIGN SECRETARY ESPINOSA: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon, friends. Good afternoon. I would like to welcome all of you here, first of all everyone here in the media. First of all, I would like to very sincerely thank the people from Guanajuato. Thank you so much for your great hospitality.

And I would also like to thank governor of Guanajuato for his willingness in this position to help us so that we can hold this very important visit here in this beautiful city of Guanajuato, this wonderful framework in this city. It is truly a great pleasure to be visiting this beautiful city. And we feel so proud to be able to show Secretary Clinton and also the U.S. commission, everyone, and for the media also, to be able to show the world a little bit of what Mexico has to offer. The warmth and cultural wealth of the city makes this city one of our best tourist destinations. And the state is also an excellent destination for investment. The support of the state and also of the state government has been quite valuable for the success of this meeting today.

I had wanted to meet with Secretary Clinton in Guanajuato for many reasons, first of all, because I know that she is a true friend and is someone who really knows Mexico, a true friend of Mexico, in spite of our enormous diversity. It is not easy to surprise her with new elements of our new identity, of our identity, our tradition and roots. I hope that I’ve been able to surprise you today, Mrs. Clinton. I hope – I thank you so much for having accepted this invitation, and I trust that you feel you’re so welcome in Mexico today, in Guanajuato especially.

On the other hand, we also wanted to meet in this wonderful environment to do a very broad review of the different actions that both governments have been promoting and identify the different priorities that will be identifying our joint work. We have with us members of our very close teams to ensure the coordination of our work today. President Felipe Calderon and President Barack Obama have a shared vision on the importance and potential of the bilateral relationship. Under their leadership, we’ve been able to open a stage of collaboration based on the shared responsibility and mutual respect. We have now an authentic strategic partnership between Mexico and the United States. Our relationship is even stronger than the political junctural challenges that might arise in our path.

The societies of our countries are part of a single space of prosperity. Mexico and the United States need to expand their international marketplaces to improve efficiency and generate more and better employment, more and better jobs. We have to work together. We have to do joint work. Only thus are we going to be able to turn into reality the enormous potential in our relationship. Joining efforts, we are going to be able to improve the living standard of our societies, strengthen our communities, and adopt sustainable production methods.

Today, we have reasserted the political commitment of both governments with a very ambitious economic agenda, which includes the regulatory coordination, facilitation of legitimate flows of people and goods, and the development of border infrastructure, and the joint work of renewable energies and the resolution of existing disputes, for instance, the trans-border motor transportation situation.

Security topics are of central importance for both countries. Organized crime at the transnational level is a common enemy we face because they threaten the security of our two nations. We are fully aware of our respective responsibilities and we know that we should support each other mutually. Our agenda, based on the principle of shared responsibility, includes actions of interdiction and disarticulation of criminal groups, and also the fight against arms trafficking and money laundering, social development issues, and also issues related to reducing the consumption of drugs.

We’ve also held a dialogue under these perspectives – the debate on migration and different issues related to Mexican communities in the United States. I’ve expressed to Secretary Clinton the concern of the Mexican Government for the proliferation of local initiatives with discriminatory elements towards Mexican and Mexican American communities. Because we cannot understand the fact that there are people who are seeking to go back to law enforcement based on stereotypes or on the physical appearance of people or their culture or origin. It would be quite an alarming precedent, contrary to the principles of tolerance and inclusion that we share in North America.

In the face of the cases of violence we have had along the borderline, we are especially worried about great cases affecting Mexican citizens, as well as aggressions of criminal groups against U.S. authorities, and we reiterate our commitment of implementing the joint declaration adopted last December. Secretary Clinton is a tireless promoter of contacts among societies. It is a great pleasure for me to share with you that just recently we renewed for ten more years the agreement based on the Cultural, Educational Exchange Mexico U.S. Commission, COMEXUS, which is the main bi-national organization devoted to promoting academic exchanges.

Mexico and the United States – we’ve been able to develop an intense dialogue on regional and global issues this afternoon. We have been able to exchange impressions on many of those issues. The success of the COP 16 meeting that took place just a few months ago shows what we can accomplish together throughout our participation. In the UN Security Council we were able to see as well once more how we were both benefited through a multilateral dialogue, which is a closer type of dialogue today amongst many other actions. We’ve been able to agree the promotion of increasingly ambitious agreements in the climate and also green growth environment.

I would like to thank Secretary Clinton for her frankness and her willingness and her very clear commitment with the bilateral relationship and for making all this efforts to come all the way from Washington today to be here with us. Thank you so much Secretary Clinton. We know you have to go back to Washington this afternoon, tonight rather. This – you’re showing your friendship, and we greatly appreciate this show of friendship. And I would like to wish that in some other opportunity you may come back to the city of Guanajuato, to this beautiful city with more time, so that you can get to see the city.

Secretary Clinton, I give you the floor.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very, very much, Secretary Espinosa. And it is a great pleasure and an honor to be here for this bilateral meeting. I very much looked forward to this visit and I learned that you, yourself, personally, have a connection to Guanajuato in a way that makes it even more special to me. So thank you for inviting me and our delegation to have this important meeting here, and I want to also thank the governor and the mayor who welcomed me at the airport.

Before I begin, I want to express a very strong condemnation of today’s terrorist attacks at the Moscow Airport. We stand with the people of Russia in this moment of sorrow and grief, and we offer both our condolences and our very strong solidarity as they continue the struggle that so many of us face in combating and eliminating this international terror threat.

Closer to Mexico, and especially here, I just learned that Bishop Samuel Ruiz, a native son, has passed away. And I was told by my colleagues that he was a tireless mediator who sought reconciliation and justice through dialogue, and that is exactly the legacy that should be honored and the example that should be followed.

We have just had a very productive meeting, as we always do. I have to publicly thank the secretary for the excellent cooperation, partnership, and friendship that she and I have developed during my two years as Secretary of State. I think it reflects the commitment by our two presidents. Both President Obama and President Calderon, are very committed to this relationship, which we consider one of the most important in the world. And both President Obama and I have been very impressed by President Calderon’s courage and leadership, and we are very heartened by his commitment to a stronger U.S.-Mexico relationship and partnership. And it is because of our commitment at the highest levels of our government that we are here today discussing in a very open way all of the issues between us and working on enhancing our cooperation to produce results that will benefit both the people of Mexico and the people of the United States.

Mexico is not only an important bilateral partner. Mexico is a regional and global leader. We see that every single day. We saw it most especially at the recent Cancun climate talks. Our two nations worked together not only as neighbors but as partners in meeting the global climate challenge. And thanks in large part to President Calderon’s leadership and Secretary Espinosa’s chairmanship, Mexico played the central role in achieving a consensus agreement that proved the skeptics wrong and broke important new ground on the path toward a cleaner, more secure energy future.

Mexico is also playing an important role here in the region. We spoke at length about Haiti. We are jointly urging the Haitian Government to honor the recommendations of the Organization of American States as Haiti prepares to hold a second round of elections. We also spoke about how we can do more bilaterally to enhance clean energy and deal with climate change. We are working to extend our efforts against transnational crime into Central America to give the people of Central America more support and security.

We are deepening our economic ties. We are enhancing the global competitiveness of our two countries. Now, I know it doesn't make the headlines, but in the last two years we’ve had so many positive developments between the United States and Mexico: three new border crossings – two in Texas, one in Arizona – that are enhancing the more than $1 billion worth of trade that cross our border every day. We are working to make sure that we are going to be positioned to play a very big role in North America in the 21st century economy. Mexico will be hosting the G-20 in 2012. Mexico played a very important role, under President Calderon’s leadership, in helping to guide the global economy through very difficult times over the last two years.

We are committed to this relationship on every single level. And we are following through on the declaration by both of our presidents on 21st century border management. We’re exploring ways to inspect and clear legitimate goods away from border stations. We are trying to do more on our side of the border to prevent money laundering and illegal arms coming in to Mexico. We are working with our counterparts in each of our governments to create trucking policies that reduce transit costs and enhance safety on our roads. We discussed ways to use the $1 billion in available financing from Ex-Im Bank to Banobras to build Mexican infrastructure and create jobs in both countries. We also have new ideas, using both of our governments to create more small businesses, to work on projects together in high tech, green jobs, and clean energy technology.

Now, we also cooperate not only in the economic realm, but in the education realm, the health realm, and so much else. And certainly, when it comes to security, we have shared interests. We are taking decisive steps to address our common security challenges. President Obama and I, from my very first visit to Mexico, have been frank about the fact that our countries share responsibility. The United States has been willing, under President Obama, to admit that we have a responsibility for some of the very difficult transnational organized crime challenges that Mexico is dealing with. That is why it is important for us to work closely together to halt the stream of illegal weapons and cash coming in one direction and drugs going in the other direction.

Beginning with the Merida Initiative, moving into the beyond Merida phase, our two countries have redoubled our efforts to stop drug trafficking and organized crime. This year, we have committed to deliver $500 million in equipment and capacity building to the Government of Mexico. That includes $60 million for nonintrusive inspection equipment that will help law enforcement and customs agents to detect illegal arms and money moving into and within Mexico. Through Merida, we are working to help Mexico strengthen court systems, build resilient communities, and offer constructive alternatives for young people.

And we are seeing real results on both sides of the border. On the Mexican side, thanks to improved intelligence and targeting, nearly two dozen high-level traffickers have been captured or killed just in the past year. On the U.S. side, the FBI just arrested the largest number of mafia members in history this month. And our Treasury has designated nearly 800 businesses and individuals associated with drug kingpins. In both countries, we continue to confront organized crime within our borders and across them. We still have work to do. I’m not going to deny that. But we are making progress. And President Calderon’s very courageous leadership is one of the reasons why we are making some gains that are important.

Now, all of these efforts are grounded in the strong personal ties between our people. We have agreed to extend, as the secretary said, the Fulbright-Garcia program, which brings scholarship students, researchers, and teachers of both countries together. More than 4,000 Mexicans and Americans have benefited from this program, including Mexico’s current ambassador to the United States and my friend, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is making such a remarkable healing from the terrible violent crime that she and other innocent people suffered from.

Madam Secretary, the contributions that Mexicans and Mexican Americans are a fundamental part of the fabric of the United States. Across the United States, we join with you in celebrating 200 years of Mexican independence and 100 years since the Mexican Revolution. And when the Mexican national team played New Zealand in a friendly soccer game in Los Angeles last summer, the Rose Bowl filled to capacity 90,000 strong with a sea of green shirts and tricolored flags.

As I said when I came to Mexico in 2009, we are part of the same family; we share the same land as our common home, and our children will inherit a common future. No other country-to-country relationship has such a direct and daily bearing on our people. And I look forward to continuing our work together to make sure that that future is as strong and peaceful and prosperous as our children deserve.

Thank you very much, Madam Secretary.

PRN: 2011/T38-4