Mexican president seeks to avoid row after Trump drug warning

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday that he wanted to avoid a “confrontation” with the United States after President Donald Trump issued a new warning over drug trafficking.

In a memorandum published Wednesday, Trump welcomed “signs of progress” by Mexico such as extraditions of traffickers, but said that “more must be done” to tackle the drug cartels.

“Unless the Mexican government demonstrates substantial progress in the coming year backed by verifiable data, Mexico will be at serious risk of being found to have failed demonstrably to uphold its international drug control commitments,” he warned.

Trump made a similar threat last year to designate Mexico as having failed to uphold those commitments, which could have repercussions in areas such as financial aid.

Lopez Obrador said while there were certain things in the annual assessment that his government did not accept, he had asked Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard to respond with “love and peace.”

Noting that Trump was in campaign mode ahead of the November 3 election, he said: “We have a very good relationship with the government of the United States and we are not going to fall into any confrontation.”

According to the White House memorandum, Mexico is the source of almost all heroin and methamphetamine seized in the United States, and a transit route for most of the cocaine.

Lopez Obrador has sought to maintain good relations with Trump despite the US leader’s anti-Mexico rhetoric, and chose the United States for his first foreign visit after taking office. (AFP)