MEXICO CITY, March 10 (Reuters) – Mexico’s top diplomat on Friday criticized comments by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who had called for increased U.S. involvement in Mexico to tackle drug cartels, saying Mexico “will never allow its sovereignty to be violated.”
Following an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal by Barr last week, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard penned his own response in the newspaper, stressing joint cooperation over U.S. military involvement in Mexico.
Barr’s opinion piece compared Mexico’s “narco-terrorist” cartels to the jihadist Islamic State and backed a Republican proposal to give the U.S. president the power to send the military to fight against the cartels.
“The voracious demand for drugs in the U.S., along with the widespread availability of military-style weapons there, largely explains the cartels’ power to wreak havoc,” Ebrard shot back.
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In recent days, calls for U.S. intervention in Mexico have ramped up after two Americans were killed and two others kidnapped in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, presumably by a drug cartel.
“This is a national security threat for both countries and we need bipartisan pressure on the President of Mexico to put a stop to this,” Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw tweeted.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rejected the calls for U.S. intervention Thursday, calling them “irresponsible.”
Ebrard said the proposal by Barr, who served in Donald Trump’s term, “would lead to even more violence and victims on both sides of the border” and wipe out cooperation between the two countries.
Instead, Ebrard stressed the two partners were already working to develop a framework which would address the production of synthetic drugs, particularly fentanyl.
“We need an effective drug policy, and the illegal flow of weapons into Mexico must stop,” Ebrard added.
Reporting by Kylie Madry
Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool
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