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Napolitano to visit Guatemala for talks on drugs

US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will visit Guatemala next week for talks on President Otto Perez's bold proposal to legalize drug production and consumption, authorities said Saturday.

US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, pictured on February 15, will visit Guatemala next week for talks on President Otto Perez's bold proposal to legalize drug production and consumption, authorities said Saturday.

"This is a high-level visit. We hope to take up important issues for us, such as drug trafficking, (and) legalization of drugs," Perez said late Friday after a meeting with US ambassador Arnold Chacon.

The meeting was his first since the president of this Central American nation unveiled his proposal on Monday after meeting with Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes.

Perez thinks the legalization plan should be adopted in all countries that are used as transit points as well as for production and consumption of illegal narcotics, for it to be effective.

The president told the state news agency AGM that Chacon understood "Guatemala's position and that the issue will not create clashes or distancing between nations."

According to US data, 90 percent of cocaine shipped from South America to the lucrative US market passes through Central American nations like his.

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