US President Donald Trump on Tuesday (local time) said that he has planned to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organisations, prompting Mexican officials to seek further talks with Washington.
Asked by former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly in an interview whether he would designate Mexican cartels as terror groups and target them, Trump replied, "I don't want to say what I'm going to do, but they will be designated", The Hill reported
O'Reilly later asked Trump again whether he would designate them as terror groups.
"Absolutely," the president replied.
"I've 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're well into that process," he added.
Shortly after the announcement, Mexico's foreign ministry, in a statement, said that it would seek a high-level meeting with State Department officials to address the designation and the flow of money to organized crime, according to reports by Sputnik news agency.
"By virtue of the good relations that exist between the two countries, the Government of Mexico will seek to have a high-level meeting as soon as possible to present Mexico's position and learn the views of the US authorities [on the drug cartel issue]," the statement read.
The statement further stated that it was working to promote a roadmap that would allow reducing the flow of weapons and money to organised crime across the border with the United States.
Trump offered Mexico the help of the United States in launching a war against drug cartels earlier this month, following the killing of nine American Mormons in northern Mexico.
Trump's comments also follow a recent attack in northern Mexico that left multiple US citizens dead that is believed to be tied to Mexican organized crime.
After the incident, Trump said that Mexico and the US should "wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth."
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador declined the offer, saying, "It's not in agreement with our convictions. The worst thing is war."
Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan announced on November 14 that designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations topped US government strategy proposals.