Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Monday a public-safety strategy based on fighting violence with a regional focus and the creation of a national gendarmerie with an initial complement of 10,000 members.

Heading his first National Security Council since taking office Dec. 1, Peña Nieto said the armed forces will continue with their public safety duties while the process of restructuring state police units is being completed.

Conflict among rival drug cartels and between criminals and security forces has claimed some 60,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon gave the military the leading role in the struggle against the drug trade.

Peña Nieto identified the pillars of the new security policy as planning, crime prevention, respect for human rights, coordination, a revamp of law enforcement and the judiciary, as well as a process of continual evaluation.

Before the security Cabinet, Mexico's 32 state governors and the judiciary made a call for working "in unison" to restore peace.

After noting that crime is Mexicans' main worry, Peña Nieto said that the only way to get results is to set clear goals.

He suggested the division of national territory into five operational regions with the objective of addressing the specific problems of each region, an idea that won unanimous approval from the governors at the Security Council meeting.

He also ordered the creation of a national gendarmerie with 10,000 members to undertake the task of strengthening "territorial control of those municipalities with the greatest institutional weakness, as well as of strategic installations like ports, airports and borders." EFE