Rupert Cornwell
The Independent
August 11, 2009

President Barack Obama will press Congress to release more than $100m (£60m) of aid to help Mexico in its war against the drug cartels.

[efoods]The funds have been held up by complaints on Capitol Hill that the Mexican army has committed human rights abuses in its struggle to destroy the drug barons and end the violence that has killed an estimated 11,000 people in the country.

The issue was one of several bones of contention at yesterday’s summit between the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico in Guadalajara, now an annual fixture aimed at building on the ties established through Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement that came into effect in 1994.

Mexican officials have repeatedly pushed for the money to be released, insisting that reports of abuses by the army have been exaggerated, and at a private meeting here with his opposite number Felipe Calderon, Mr Obama reiterated his support for the Mexican government’s offensive.

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