President Obama, outlining plans to help Mexico combat drug violence, promised to resurrect a treaty against arms trafficking that has been stuck in Congress for 12 years but rebuffed Mexico’s demands to curb sales of assault weapons in the U.S., the Arizona Republic reports. During his first official trip to Mexico, Obama said he will try to persuade lawmakers to finally approve the treaty known as CIFTA, which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1997 but has never been ratified by the U.S. Senate. Obama showed little appetite for reviving the 1994-2004 federal assault weapons ban. During a joint press conference in Mexico City, Mexican President Felipe Calderón blamed the end of the ban for the increased firepower wielded by drug cartels.
“None of us is under the illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy, and so what we’ve focused on is how we can improve our enforcement of existing laws,” Obama said. Obama tried to cast his visit to Mexico as the start of a new era of cooperation between the countries. But the disagreement over weapons sales was only one of several divisions that emerged during a news conference after his meeting with Calderón.