Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper, US President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderón met yesterday at the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America summit, held this year in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The first meeting was between Bush and Calderón. Afterwards, Bush noted that they “had a very long and very good discussion on a variety of issues. U.S. and Mexican relations are very important.”
Bush congratulated Calderón. “I want to congratulate you and thank you for your strong leadership,” he said.
“We talked about trade, and how trade has been beneficial to both of our countries,” continued Bush, describing the meeting before the speech. “When you and I grew up in our respective countries, the border region of Mexico and the United States was very poor. And today when you go down there, there’s prosperity on both sides of the border,” he said, claiming that the countries had been successful in combating poverty.
Mr. Calderón then took over. “Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you so much for your hospitality and for a very long and productive discussion we had today. As is fitting for the relationship that Mexico and the United States enjoy, we have been able to discuss a long list of issues today, because we have a very complex and rich relationship.”
Later in the day Bush met with Canada’s Prime Minister. “I don’t know if the people of Canada understand the leadership role you took in Romania, but it was strong and effective,” stated Bush in the joint press conference after the meeting.
Later in the press conference, Bush noted that he’s “always interested in making sure that, if there’s any bilateral tensions or bilateral issues, that I know of them, so that we can work collaboratively to deal with them.”
Bush also mentioned other points from the meeting: “We also talked about the importance of trade between Canada and the United States, and Canada and Mexico, and the United States and Mexico. And I assured the Prime Minister that I’m a strong advocate for free trade. I believe it’s in our nations’ interests that we continue to have a free trade agenda. All of us want to make sure we’re treated fairly, and we can do that. And this summit comes at an opportune time to reaffirm the benefits of the trading arrangements between our three nations.”
Calderón finished the press conference with, “we [the two leaders] have some important joint work going on, not just in this continent but around the world, including in Afghanistan. I appreciate your words about Bucharest, and I can tell you our armed forces look very much forward to working in partnership with your people in Kandahar.”