US State Dept: Mexican Government Has ‘Moved Quickly to Investigate’ Ayotzinapa (VIDEO)

At yesterday’s U.S. State Department daily press briefing, this is what Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf took questions about Mexico and Ayotzinapa. This is a clip of what she said. (Full video of the entire briefing is here.)

This is the transcript of that explanation (the full transcript is here):

QUESTION: Yeah. I just had a follow-up to the question yesterday about Mexico and the recent protests and whether the U.S. is reviewing Mexico’s human rights standing as a result of the disappearances we’ve seen in the last few months.

MS. HARF: Well, a couple of points on that, and I did get a little bit on this for you. You know we’ve condemned the disappearance of the 43 students. We’ve continued to call on the Mexican Government to quickly and thoroughly investigate the crime and bring those culpable to justice, and they have been doing so. We welcome the steps they’ve taken to date. They’ve arrested more than 70 individuals suspected of involvement in the crime. The president in a November 27th address outlined a plan to address in large part some of these issues.

In terms of our review, I got you a little bit on this as well. Approximately every two years, we send to Congress a review, a required 15 percent report to Congress for the fiscal year that allows us to obligate funds for assistance based on human rights issues. We submitted that required report on September 19th, and there aren’t plans to revisit that. We constantly revisit it as part of the natural procedures here.

QUESTION: There’s a number of people on the Hill have questioned that procedure on the basis that very soon after that September determination, obviously we had the disappearance of these 43 students. But there were cases before that allegedly involving the army and people being decapitated and found dead on the streets. And there’s enormous concern that the U.S. is not taking these issues seriously enough. Beyond simply condemning the incidents themselves, can you address any more what the U.S. view of the political backdrop here is?

MS. HARF: Well – uh-huh, a couple points. The first is that there is a process in place in terms of our aid to Mexico that we have to every two years review this, and we take that process very seriously. We have a human rights dialogue that’s ongoing with Mexico. This is an annual, bilateral dialogue that addresses a wide range of these topics, and I think the next one will be early next year. So we raise concerns when we have them. I would certainly not agree with the notion that we don’t raise human rights concerns – we clearly do.

We have a very important relationship with Mexico. We think the Mexican Government, in this case particularly, has moved quickly to investigate it thoroughly. It’s a tough challenge, though, and we’ll keep working with them on it.

QUESTION: Just one last thing: Do you think it is likely to come up at that next discussion early next year?

MS. HARF: This specific case?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: I don’t – it’ll happen early next year. I’m just not sure. I suspect it may, but we don’t have to wait for the dialogue to raise these issues either. We are in constant communication with our Mexican counterparts about human rights issues separate from the dialogue.

QUESTION: Thank you.

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