President Obama Meets With Mexican President Calderon

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 4, 2011
President Obama, Mexican President Calderon Hold a Press Conference

President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon held a bilateral meeting at the White House on March 3, 2011. After the meeting, the counterparts held a joint press conference, where they discussed the partnership between the United States and Mexico. President Obama also addressed the situation in Libya.

President Obama said, "...[T]he relationship between the United States and Mexico isn't measured just in the partnership between two Presidents. It's evident every day in the strong bonds between our two societies. It's the thousands of people who work together, at every level -- federal, states and community levels -- to keep our citizens safe, to keep our economies growing. It's the tens of thousands of students and teachers and researchers in exchanges between our schools and our universities.

"It's the one million people who cross our shared border every day -- tourists and business people -- sustaining one of the largest trading relationships in the world. And it's our families and our friends -- the many Americans living in Mexico, and the tens of millions of Mexican Americans who make outstanding contributions to this country every single day.

"As I said, we're also global partners. As part of the G20, we're advancing the global economic recovery, and I look forward to visiting Mexico when President Calderon hosts the G20 next year. Together, we've responded to the earthquake in Haiti, and we're securing the world's vulnerable nuclear materials. I especially want to commend President Calderon for Mexico's successful leadership of the Cancun Conference, including progress toward a Green Fund that he himself helped to get started and champion and which will help developing countries adapt to climate change.

"Most recently, our governments have spoken out forcefully for the human rights of the Libyan people, and Mexico played a leading role at the United Nations in suspending Libya from the Human Rights Council.

"President Calderon, this not only reflects our commitment to the shared values of freedom and justice and rule of law. It's also another example of Mexico's global leadership -- as you said in your address to our Congress last year -- that "Mexico is standing tall" and ready to take its "rightful place in the world.""It is this appreciation of the great bonds between Americans and Mexicans, and the values and responsibilities that we hold in common that allowed us to make progress once again today.

"We're working to expand the trade that creates jobs for our peoples. Remember, Mexico is the second largest market for American exports. It supports some one million American jobs. And our exports to Mexico are growing faster than they are with the rest of the world.

"So we're moving ahead with plans for a 21st century border so people and goods can cross securely and efficiently. We're working to coordinate and streamline regulations and get rid of unnecessary trade barriers to make it easier to do business together. We're making new investments in clean energy partnerships, including green buildings and smart grid technologies. And based on negotiations so far, I'm hopeful that we can conclude an agreement by the end of the year to develop new sources of energy in the Gulf of Mexico.

"I'm especially pleased to announce that, after nearly 20 years, we finally have found a clear path to resolving the dispute over trucking between our two countries. I thank President Calderon and his team -- as well as my Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, and our U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk -- for reaching this proposed agreement. I look forward to consulting with Congress and moving forward in a way that strengthens the safety of cross-border trucking, lifts tariffs on billions of dollars of U.S. goods, expands our exports to Mexico, and creates job on both sides of the border.

"We're also deepening our cooperation against the drug cartels that threaten both our peoples. As I've said before, President Calderon and the Mexican people have shown extraordinary courage in the fight for their country. Tens of thousands of Mexicans -- innocent citizens and dedicated security forces -- have lost their lives. I have reaffirmed to President Calderon that in this cause, Mexico has a full partner with the United States. Because whether they live in Texas or Tijuana, our people have a right to be safe in their communities.

"So we are continuing to speed up the delivery of equipment and training that our Mexican partners need to keep up this fight. As President Calderon cracks down on money laundering in Mexico, we're putting unprecedented pressure on cartels and their finances here in the United States. And we thank our Mexican partners for their close cooperation following the murder of one of our immigration and customs agents, Special Agent Jaime Zapata.

"I reiterated that the United States accepts our shared responsibility for the drug violence. So to combat the southbound flow of guns and money, we are screening all southbound rail cargo, seizing many more guns bound for Mexico and we are putting more gunrunners behind bars. And as part of our new drug control strategy, we are focused on reducing the demand for drugs through education, prevention and treatment.

"We have also discussed immigration, an issue on which both countries have responsibilities. As I told President Calderon, I remain deeply committed to fixing our broken immigration system with comprehensive reform that continues to secure our borders, enforces our laws -- including against businesses that break the law -- and requiring accountability from undocumented workers. And we have to conduct this debate in a way that upholds our values as a nation of both laws and immigrants. So I'm eager to work with Republicans and Democrats to get this reform done, which is vital to the U.S. economy.

"Finally, I'm looking forward to receiving insights from the President as I prepare for my trip to Latin America this month, which will be an opportunity to strengthen our security cooperation throughout the region."

Before turning it over to Mexican President Calderon, President Obama addressed the situation in Libya. He said, "The United States, and the entire world, continues to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people. The United States is helping to lead an international effort to deter further violence, put in place unprecedented sanctions to hold the Qaddafi government accountable, and support the aspirations of the Libyan people.

"We are also responding quickly to the urgent humanitarian needs that are developing. Tens of thousands of people -- from many different countries -- are fleeing Libya, and we commend the governments of Tunisia and Egypt for their response, even as they go through their own political transitions. I have, therefore, approved the use of U.S. military aircraft to help move Egyptians who have fled to the Tunisian border to get back home to Egypt. I've authorized USAID to charter additional civilian aircraft to help people from other countries find their way home, and we're supporting the efforts of international organizations to evacuate people as well.

"I've also directed USAID to send humanitarian assistance teams to the Libyan border, so that they can work with the United Nations, NGOs and other international partners inside Libya to address the urgent needs of the Libyan people.

"Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: The violence must stop. Muammar Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave. Those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable. And the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met."

You can read the President's complete remarks here.

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