July 23, 2020 / 5:56 PM / 18 days ago

UPDATE 1-Mexican minister quits after clash over navy's anti-drugs role

(Adds comments from president and departing minister)

MEXICO CITY, July 23 (Reuters) - Mexico’s communications and transportation minister said on Thursday he was resigning because he disagreed with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s decision to hand control of ports to the navy as the government seeks to curb drug trafficking.

Anxious to stop chemicals used to make narcotics entering the country, Lopez Obrador wants the navy to oversee ports and customs facilities, a decision that the outgoing minister, Javier Jimenez Espriu, was not in agreement with.

“We had a dispute that happens between free men,” Lopez Obrador said in a video announcing Jimenez Espriu’s exit. “I am very, very, very concerned about the entry of drugs, fentanyl, all this is coming in through the Pacific ports.”

An amendment will be presented to clear the way for the navy to manage the ports, Lopez Obrador said, sitting alongside Jimenez and his replacement, Jorge Arganis Diaz Leal.

Diaz is a civil engineer who once served in the Mexico City government.

Jimenez thanked the president for allowing him to be part of his government and for the understanding he had shown over his decision to quit over their difference of opinion. (Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; writing by Julia Love; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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