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Prepared Statement of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on Law Enforcement Cooperation Between the United States and Mexico

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
January 11, 2007

I would like to thank Attorney General Medina Mora for inviting me here to meet with him and other senior Mexican officials.† I always enjoy visiting Mexico, and this trip has been very productive.† The Attorney General and I have met before, but our meetings during this visit have given us the opportunity to get to know each other better and to learn about each othersí priorities and ideas for fighting crime and ensuring public security.

Today, we discussed a number of issues, including transnational organized crime and violence, which affect both our countries well beyond our 2000-mile border.† Clearly, Mexico and the United States have a shared responsibility to make our communities safer from the drug-traffickers and criminals who are threatening our way of life.† Both Attorney General Medina Mora and I whole-heartedly agree that our law enforcement officials must be able to cooperate with one another on a broader scale and in an atmosphere of mutual trust if we are going to be able to turn back the tide of recent violence and crime that so adversely affects us all.

In recent years, we have seen improved law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Mexico, including in the area of extraditions to ensure that fugitives face justice where they are accused of committing crimes.† In 2006, there were a record number of 63 extraditions to the United States from Mexico, as well as a record number of extraditions to Mexico from the United States.† Earlier this week, Mexico extradited to the United States Jorge Arroyo Garcia, who is charged in California with the murder of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff David March.† This excellent extradition relationship highlights our continuing cooperation and our commitment to bring to justice those who harm our nationís citizens and interests.

But much work remains to be done.† Attorney General Medina Mora and I recognize that we must continue to build upon our successes and improve our ability to exchange information, intelligence, and expertise.† We also must continue-- and more aggressively so-- to pursue the coordinated investigation of major criminal organizations.†

Crime is not Mexicoís problem alone or the United Statesí problem alone.† It is our mutual challenge, and if we do not work together to meet that challenge, we will both fail Ö and the stakes are too high for failure.† The safety of our communities depends on our commitment, our cooperation, and our concerted efforts.† I look forward to working closely with the Attorney General in the coming years, and I am confident that our work will lead to improved security for the people of both Mexico and the United States.

Thank you.

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