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U.S. and Mexico to ban abduction of suspects

The United States and Mexico agreed Monday to revise their extradition treaty to ban abductions of criminal suspects.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher said President Clinton provided written assurances he will not condone such kidnappings by U.S. agents in Mexico as long as treaty negotiations are under way.

Mexico demanded that the treaty be amended after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the 1978 agreement does not prohibit U.S. agents from abducting criminal suspects from Mexico.

The ruling stemmed from the 1990 kidnapping of Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain in connection with the 1985 torture-slaying of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico. Machain was snatched by bounty hunters working for the DEA. Mexico was infuriated.

"We have agreed to negotiate the extradition issue to find a legally binding way to prohibit extraterritorial abductions," Christopher said after meeting at the White House with Mexican Foreign Minister Fernando Solana.

Solana said Mexico had suggested adding a separate protocol to the treaty prohibiting abductions but would let negotiators decide how to revise it.

The Christopher-Solana meeting was part of an annual get-together of senior U.S. and Mexican officials to discuss trade, environmental and narcotics cooperation and other issues.

Both Christopher and Clinton used the opportunity to urge Congress to ratify the North American Free Trade Agreement when the administration submits it this fall.

The United States, Mexico and Canada are still negotiating side agreements that would ensure pollution control and labor standards.