MEXICO CITY – A cast of senior U.S. security officials pledged long-term support for Mexico’s drug war while acknowledging Tuesday that an insatiable U.S. appetite for illegal narcotics is at the core of the problem.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who led the U.S. delegation, told the meeting that the drug cartels responsible for increasing violence in the border region are fighting not just Mexican military and law enforcement forces but also the United States.

“There is no question that they are fighting against both of our governments,” she said, according to a copy of her closed-door remarks. “Tragically, that fact was underscored on March 13th,” with the murders of two Americans and a Mexican affiliated with the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Clinton said.

Clinton pledged U.S. efforts with Mexico and at home to reduce demand for drugs in the United States and the flow of guns and drug proceeds to Mexico.

To send a message that the U.S. was serious about its pledge, it sent the Obama administration’s most senior deputies — including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen.

U.S. officials see a strategic problem with their neighbor’s surging violence and unstable judicial and law enforcement systems.

Mexican officials, in turn, blame that instability on the insatiable U.S. demand for lucrative and illegal narcotics.