MEXICO CITY — The director of the FBI and Mexico's new attorney general met Thursday in Mexico City, pledging to take joint efforts against crime to a new level.
Emphasizing respect for the sovereignty of each country, FBI chief Louis Freeh said he sees the two countries working more closely together, including setting up more joint task forces, swapping more information and giving more U.S. training to Mexican police.
So far, 27 Mexican officers have graduated from the FBI's National Academy Program.
Attorney General Rafael Macedo pointed out the need to professionalize Mexico's notoriously corrupt and inefficient police forces.
Cleaning up Mexico's forces and restoring the public's trust in officers have been top priorities of President Vicente Fox, who toppled seven decades of single-party rule in July.
Fox's administration has moved to create a law enforcement system more like that in the United States, including an agency modeled after the FBI.
Earlier this week, Macedo traveled to Washington to meet with Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top U.S. law enforcement officials, including Freeh.
Freeh called the meetings a "reflection of the very strong and robust relationship that I think will be taken to a new level."
One sticking point in U.S.-Mexico relations is the 14-year-old law requiring the U.S. president to certify annually which of nearly 30 countries are cooperating in the fight against drug trafficking. Those considered not to be doing enough can be "decertified" and face possible sanctions.
The process has infuriated Mexico, which views it as a condescending and hypocritical exercise by the nation that is the world's largest consumer of illegal drugs. Mexico has never failed to be certified.
President Bush has said he is open to ending the annual U.S. evaluation. Reflecting that new attitude, Freeh made it clear Thursday that the United States shares the blame.
"Our inability to control the use of drugs has inflicted a terrible burden on Mexico," Freeh said.