Mexico president hosts US AG behind closed doors in capital

Mexico

Journalists film as the convoy carrying U.S. Attorney General William Barr departs from the National Palace, where Barr met privately with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, in Mexico City, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Barr’s closed-door meetings in Mexico come about one week after President Donald Trump suggested that the United States would seek to classify Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president and the U.S. attorney general met behind closed doors Thursday, about a week after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested his government could classify Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

The Foreign Relations Department said the meeting between Attorney General William Barr and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was “cordial and respectful” and touched on establishing “a common front” against the cartels.

Journalists film as a vehicle carrying a Mexican official leaves the National Palace following a private meeting between U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in Mexico City, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

“Among other things, they spoke about cooperating on weapons trafficking, money laundering, international drug trafficking and how to form a common front against international trafficking and crime,” the department said in a statement.

Mexico has been pressing the United States to stop the flow of illegal weapons south, while Trump has been pushing Mexico to do more to combat cartels, like the one that killed nine U.S. dual citizens in November.

López Obrador tweeted a photo of himself conversing with Barr.

He said that as a lawyer, Barr “understands that our Constitution obliges us to stick to principles of cooperation for development and non-intervention in foreign policy.”

In this photo provided by the Mexican presidential press office, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, left, speaks with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at the National Palace in Mexico City, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. The closed-door meeting came about a week after U.S. President Donald Trump suggested his government could classify Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations. (Mexican presidential press office via AP)

López Obrador said earlier that he would be accompanied by his security Cabinet and Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

The encounter was not open to journalists.

A foreign terrorist organization designation by the U.S. government would mean it views cartels the same as groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaida.

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