Mexico president hosts US AG behind closed doors in capital

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.

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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.

“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.”

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.