Mexico pleads US for help against drugs

Mexico's government is in talks with U.S. officials about how they can cooperate in battle against drug traffickers, but is not asking for a massive anti-drug aid program like the one provided to Colombia.

"The government has been talking with the United States to see how we can improve our bilateral cooperation," Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan told the newspaper Milenio.

Sarukhan mentioned "training courses, the transfer of resources and the exchange of intelligence information" as possible avenues for such help. But he said Mexico is not looking for the kind of anti-narcotics and military assistance in place for Colombia, which has costed U.S. taxpayers more than US$4 billion (2.9 billion EUR) since 2000.

"I would say that there could not be any Plan Colombia for Mexico, because the two countries' realties are very different," Sarukhan said.

Since taking office on Dec. 1, President Felipe Calderon has sent more than 24,000 soldiers and federal police to battle heavily armed drug gangs blamed for more than 1,000 deaths this year, including dozens of victims who have been decapitated and had their heads dumped in public places.

"Mexico has experienced growth in drug trafficking and the violence associated with it, in large measure, because of increasing consumption in the United States," the Foreign Relations Department said in a statement late Saturday.

Calderon's administration has "energetically demanded that the U.S. government assume its responsibility" in the anti-drug fight, the statement said.

Mexico wants the U.S. to reduce consumption and fight weapons trafficking, money laundering and the flow of chemicals used to make so-called synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines.