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Mexico keeps standing in drug fight

A heated dispute over Mexico's drug-fighting efforts ended quietly Thursday, when the Senate voted 94-5 to order a five-month review of Mexican efforts to combat narcotics trade.

The action means that Congress did not follow through on earlier threats to overturn President Clinton's finding that Mexico is a committed soldier in the war against drugs.

Thursday's vote on the eve of Congress' Easter recess embraced a compromise designed to rebuke Mexico without upsetting its delicate economy. It lets Clinton's decision stand, but allows Congress to express its discontent with Mexico's efforts, which a bipartisan group of senators called inept, inefficient and corrupt.

"The Congress rejects the administration's claim that Mexico has fully cooperated with the United States," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "The evidence is overwhelming."

Each year the president is required to certify to Congress that 32 nations suspected of drug producing or trafficking are cooperating in efforts to stem the narcotics flow.

Decertified nations lose access to U.S. aid that is not humanitarian or anti-narcotic.