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    U.S. okays Russia's intention to help Mexico fight drug criminality

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    The United States has no objections to Russian-Mexican joint efforts to fight drug trafficking in the Latin American state.

    The United States has no objections to Russian-Mexican joint efforts to fight drug trafficking in the Latin American state, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner has said.

    Russia has reiterated its readiness to help Mexico fight the drug criminality, a major woe for the U.S. neighbor. The joint U.S.-Mexican Merida Initiative with the same goal has been widely criticized. Critics say the project has yielded no significant results despite huge investments.

    Answering the journalist's question on how the U.S. views Russia's initiative, Toner said there were no grounds for anxiety.

    "I mean, Mexico is a close neighbor, friend, partner with the United States. I would just say it's welcome to pursue bilateral relationships with any country it wants to, including Russia," he said.

    When asked on whether the strengthening of ties between Russia and Mexico would affect U.S.-Russian relations, Toner said "no, I don't believe so."

    Merida Initiative is a security cooperation between the United States, Mexico and Central American states aimed at combating the drug trafficking, transnational crime and money laundering. The assistance includes training, equipment and intelligence.

    Mexico has been the main hub for drug trafficking from Latin America to the U.S., with annual drug supplies estimated at around $40 billion. Some 45,000 servicemen have been involved in anti-drug operations at the border between the two countries.

    In his New Year's speech, Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared fighting drug crimes in Mexico the government's top priority for 2010.

    WASHINGTON, February 18 (RIA Novosti)

     

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