Trump to delay listing Mexican cartels as terrorist groups

Clay Curtis
December 8, 2019

But Trump said he would hold off the designation at the request of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who he called "a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us". Last week, Trump suggested that the USA government could move to label the cartels as foreign terror organizations, a designation that would put them in the same category as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

If the White House decides to carry through with its plan to label Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups, it could lead to the USA sending troops into Mexico, along with interruptions in both trade and tourism.

Donald Trump had raised the possibility of classifying the Mexican cartels as a "terrorist organization" in a telephone interview broadcast on November 26 on the website of conservative journalist Bill O'Reilly.

He says the USA and Mexico will "step up" joint efforts to combat the cartels.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized the plan, saying he wanted cooperation with the United States on fighting drug gangs, not intervention.

Lopez Obrador welcomed Trump's move.

President Trump was expected to meet with his advisers on Friday to discuss the designation, which he has been previewing for months.

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The US will not designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups, President Trump said Thursday - after threatening to do so last month.

Trump replied: "I don't want to say what I'm going to do, but they will be designated".

"It would be a very bad deal", Ebrard said.

Mexico's president thanked Mr Trump for his decision to "temporarily hold off" on designation Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organisations.

After the meeting, Lopez Obrador wrote that Barr "understands that our constitution mandates that we adhere to the principles of cooperation for development and nonintervention in foreign policy".

Earlier this year, under threat of new USA tariffs, Mexico agreed to dispatch some 15,000 soldiers to its border to help quell the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

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