The United States government announced a bilateral agreement with Mexico today that will create a public security communications network to bolster border security between the two countries.
According to the press release from the Department of Homeland Security:
The agreement establishes a bilateral working group through which the Department of Homeland Security of the United States and the Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) of Mexico will coordinate the installation and operation of the network. The new network will allow participating public safety organizations to coordinate incident response and cooperate on a broad array of law enforcement activities through the establishment of new cross border voice, data and video channels.
The agreement also provides radio interference protection for the network’s infrastructure and a process under which the bilateral working group can establish interoperable communications for qualifying federal, state, local and tribal public safety and law enforcement organizations that are invited to participate in the network.
Because of fears that Mexico's drug-fueled violence will destabilize the country and flood across the U.S. border, Washington and Mexico City have cooperated more closely on security programs over the past few years. Under the Merida Initiative, the U.S. has already allocated $1.1 billion for Mexico's drug war since 2008, according to the Center for International Policy, a human rights think tank critical of the plan.
Just yesterday, the United States released another $214 million under the initiative to fight the country's narcotraffickers. The money will help purchase five helicopters for the Mexican military, reports the Associated Press.
For text of the bilateral communications agreement, click here.
♦ Photo of the Arizona/Mexico border by Allen Ormond/Flickr