US Secretary of State Antony Blinken turned his focus to security talks with Mexico after seeking to calm relations with US ally France.
After a Thursday stopover in California, Blinken joined Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland in Mexico City for what the State Department calls a high-level dialogue on security issues.
Representing the Mexican side were Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard as well as ministers of defense and security.
Ebrard earlier this week said he wanted the US to extradite suspects to Mexico more quickly, stop the flow of arms from the US to Mexico and step up efforts to track the flow of money used by criminal organizations.
The US side is expected to demand action to be taken to combat trafficking in illegal drugs such as fentanyl.
Blinken earlier said Wednesday that his talks this week with top French officials were “very productive” and could lead to a new collaboration between Washington and Paris to contain China’s military activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
“It is imperative for the US that Europe in general, France in particular, become a strong and active partner in the Indo-Pacific,” Blinken told a news conference in the French capital. He ended his trip to Europe after talks with other foreign ministers at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Blinken said the US and France could also cooperate on matters of mutual concern in the Sahel region, Africa, and on US-European security.
While in Paris, Blinken met with French President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for talks aimed at continuing to repair strained ties between the two longtime allies following a dispute over the security partnership between the US, UK and Australia. Macron and US President Joe Biden may announce joint projects when they meet later this month in Rome, on the sidelines of a meeting of G-20 leaders.
The Biden administration last month announced new security pacts with Australia and Britain that angered Paris. Under the deal, Australia will get at least eight nuclear-powered submarines built at home using American technology. The deal comes after Australia pulled out of a previous deal with France on diesel-electric powered submarines.
Blinken said Biden told him to “maintain what is one of the most important relationships in the world and make it better, stronger.” [uh/ab]