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Mexican ambassador to U.S. draws roadmap for international cooperation

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican ambassador to the United States, spoke at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies on March 13. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican ambassador to the United States, outlined a plan for continued partnerships by the two countries during a March 13 visit to the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies, calling for more trade, more border security and a focus on energy initiatives.

Sarukhan was in Denver to meet with state and city officials on one of his many journeys outside Washington, D.C., a practice he said builds international relations at the local level. He stopped at DU to meet with Chancellor Robert Coombe and Korbel Dean Christopher Hill, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

“It is the mayors, it is the governors, it is the attorneys general, the chambers of commerce, the rotary clubs, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts that have a profound [effect on the] relationship between Mexico and the United States,” he said.

Addressing some 100 students and faculty for more than an hour, Sarukhan shared his vision for stronger ties between the neighboring countries. Relations between the two governments are at an excellent point, he said. The countries are talking trade and cooperating on initiatives, and they have an open and amiable dialogue. But among the citizens of both countries, there remains distrust. U.S. residents are unhappy about immigration issues, while Mexicans blame U.S. drug users for creating demand for illegal drugs and funding violent drug cartels.

To capitalize on strong diplomatic relations and turn them into truly strong international relationships, he said, the two countries should focus on five strategic issues: security; border infrastructure and trade implementation; energy security and efficiency; immigration; and a dialogue about global issues and policies.

Security, he said, is the biggest potential threat to the relationship. If terrorists are able to launch an attack on the U.S. from Mexico, years of goodwill could be strained. And for its side, the U.S. must shut off the southerly flow of guns and cash into Mexico.

“It behooves Mexico to be sure our border is secure,” he said.

But securing borders doesn’t mean closing them, Sarukhan said. Each day, Mexico and the U.S. conduct $1 billion in trade across the border. U.S. companies are reaping the rewards of serving a growing Mexican middle class, while industry north of the border depends on Mexican labor.

Improving border infrastructure could allow freight and workers to cross the border faster, he said, while still keeping both sides safe from narcotics and weapons traffickers.

Looking ahead, Sarukhan sees opportunities for the two countries to partner on traditional and alternative energy production and distribution, and to build global policies that benefit all of North America. With both countries facing presidential elections this year, he said, it is imperative that the governments resist the temptation to point fingers or reset what is a blossoming relationship.

“Both countries have finally understood you need two to tango. We need to work together,” he said. “Mexico and the United States need to stop playing checkers and start playing chess. We need to work strategically.”

 

 

 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Andy Carey says:

    Great article.

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