Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador warned Friday he would not allow the USA to conduct cross-border armed operations, after Donald Trump vowed to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups.
In his morning press conference, the president addressed the issue in depth because of the concerns raised by the statements of the United States president and the alleged intentions of intervening in Mexico in the battle against organized crime. "We will not allow that", Lopez Obrador said.
"Since 1914, there has been no foreign intervention in Mexico and we can not allow that", López Obrador said Friday at a regular press conference, referring to the USA occupation of the port of Veracruz 105 years ago.
Still, Trump's response stirred fears he could exploit the cartel violence to put pressure on Mexico during his bid for re-election next year, just as he did over illegal immigration in his first tilt for the presidency.
Lopez Obrador said he considered any such operations unlikely, saying there was "great cooperation" between the neighbours.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr will visit Mexico next week to discuss security cooperation, Mexico's foreign minister said earlier.
He also sent the newly formed National Guard, created to tackle Mexico's spiraling gang-fueled violence, to Mexico's borders to help stop migrants from reaching US soil.
Trump made his controversial comments in a radio interview with conservative media personality Bill O'Reilly that was posted online. While it does not directly give authority for overseas military operations, many Mexicans are nervous that it would lead to unilateral USA action against gangs.
"I don't want to say what I am going to do, but they will be designated", said Trump when asked if drone strikes in Mexico were a possibility.
"I will be designating the cartels. absolutely". In a statement obtained by The New York Times, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said it had "entered into communication with the various corresponding authorities" of the United States "to know the content and the reach" of Trump's statements.
Mexican officials have had several meetings with USA counterparts to discuss how to stop the arms flow, it said, adding that "satisfactory" progress has already been made.
Mexico said it would also seek a high-level meeting with U.S. officials to hear USA concerns and present Mexico's views - which include stemming the flow of weapons bought in the United States and smuggled south of the border. The US embassy in Mexico did not immediately respond to a request for comment.