Published: Saturday 15 July 1995

Mexico's pledge to clean up the 2,500-mile border it shares with the us -- an environmental side accord to the North American Free Trade Agreement (nafta) -- is in jeopardy for want of funds. Foreign secretary Jose Angel Gurria says that the country had to put on hold its participation in several border clean-up projects because the current financial crisis has sapped the federal budget. "This is a budget matter. In the end, it's a question of who pays for what," Gurria said, acknowledging the complaints the government has received from various us environmental groups.

Mexico gave its assent to the clean-up projects in late 1993 as a means of winning us congressional approval for nafta. Political observers said at that time that without the environmental side accord, the pact would have been rejected.

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