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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Welcoming remarks at the U.S.-Central American Law Enforcement and Drugs Ministerial
Washington, D.C., August 14, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning. I am delighted to welcome you to the State Department and thank you for coming.
The fact that you have taken time to travel to Washington during what is traditionally the vacation season speaks to the importance of our common purpose. We are here to strengthen ties among our nations to more effectively combat transnational crime and confront the scourge of drug addiction and drug trafficking.
When our Presidents and Prime Ministers met last May at the San Jose Summit, they inaugurated a truly new era in our relations, based on mutual respect and an unwavering collective commitment to the rule of law.
Along with the very important issues of trade and immigration, President Clinton and your leaders identified increased law enforcement cooperation as an absolutely essential component in the further development of our partnership and the democratic governance of our peoples.
This is critical because we know drug traffickers cooperate internationally; to defeat them, we must cooperate both within and across our borders to identify, investigate, prosecute, and jail those who violate our laws.
To the extent we succeed, we strengthen our democratic systems, enhance the security of our citizens and provide a better future for our children.
The dedication and expertise of my colleagues, Janet Reno and Barry McCaffrey, coupled with the wealth of experience and talent we are fortunate to have assembled here, give me great confidence that you will not only seek, but find the means necessary to accomplish these most important goals.
We are all aware of the economic and social costs imposed on our societies by organized criminal activity. We are all already engaged, in one form or another, in combating crime and drugs in our countries. And our presence here today signals the resolve of our Presidents and peoples to fight against those who would prey upon and exploit our citizens through crime and the drug trade.
The specific themes you will be exploring over the next two days: Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance; Drug Demand and Drug Supply Reduction; Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture; and the Training of Criminal Justice Personnel, are what you - the experts - have identified as the means to achieving greater overall collaboration and cooperation among out nations in this common struggle.
Once again, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the State Department and Washington.
Estan en su casa.

[End of Document]

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