Dec. 7 (UPI) — President Donald Trump said he’s halting plans announced late last month to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.
Trump announced the delay Friday evening after a request from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican cartels terrorist organizations,” Trump tweeted. “Statutorily we are ready to do so. However, at the request of a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us … will temporarily hold off this designation and step up our joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!”
Trump announced his plans to formally designate Mexican cartels as foreign “terrorist” organizations in a Nov. 26 interview with Bill O’Reilly, weeks after nine members of an American family were killed in an ambush on a Mexican highway. Mexican officials said cartel members were likely behind the attack.
Earlier this month, Mexican police arrested three suspects in the shooting deaths.
“We are losing 100,000 people a year to what is happening and what is coming through Mexico,” Trump told O’Reilly at the time. “I have been working on that for the last 90 days. You know, the designation is not that easy, you have to go through a process, and we are well into that process.”
The plans came after Reps. Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year asking for the United States to label violent drug cartels as terrorist organizations.