Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president, has hinted that the US may have to consider legalising drugs in order to weaken the powerful cartels that have wreaked havoc in his country.
In a speech in New York, Mr Calderon said the high demand for illegal drugs in the US was a "key issue" and was "the most important source of power of the criminals".
"We are living in the same building. And our neighbour is the largest consumer of drugs in the world. And everybody wants to sell him drugs through our doors and our windows," he said.
"We must do everything to reduce demand for drugs. But if the consumption of drugs cannot be limited, then decision-makers must seek more solutions -- including market alternatives -- in order to reduce the astronomical earnings of criminal organisations."
Mr Calderon's comments appeared to be a call for high-level debate in the US about whether state regulation could prove more effective
Mr Calderon launched an aggressive crackdown on cartels when he took office in December 2006.
Since then, more than 42,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence. (© Daily Telegraph, London)