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For Immediate Release
March 13, 2007
President Bush and President Calderón of Mexico Exchange Dinner Toasts
8:16 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT CALDERÓN: (As translated.) Your Excellency, Mr. George W. Bush, President of the United States of America; distinguished Mrs. Laura Bush; President of the Supreme Court; President of the House of Representatives; members of both delegations; ladies and gentlemen. I would like once again to tell President Bush that I am very happy and very pleased to have him here in Mexico.
Our meetings have been very fruitful, not only because of the dialogue that we have held and for the solutions that we arrived at, but also because it shows the type of relation that we have between our two countries. Your presence here, Mr. President, in Mexico allows us to see from both sides the challenges of the dynamic relation which exists between our two countries. It is clear that interdependence is a sign of our relation. The success of this meeting in the peaceful state of Yucatán lies in dialogue, respectful dialogue, intense and open dialogue that we have had today.
We have seen different issues under the light of the economy, of politics, of specific border situations and problems, and we have seen all of this on the basis of equality, and we have based our dialogue on equity. Throughout our agenda we have seen cooperation repeatedly. We have addressed very specific issues on how to be able to increase our cooperation to combat drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and other problems along the border. We have analyzed opening up of trade in sectors which are viable to our economies and which also brings forth good news for Mexico this year -- opening up to all the United States our avocado, and also cross-border situations which will help trucking companies in both countries.
Besides these challenges in our agenda, I would like to highlight the firm political will of both governments in order to reach solutions which satisfy our needs on both sides of the border. In a world where everyone is competing in these frameworks of economy and policies, we know well that we can face these challenges together. We have brought our efforts together in order to increase bilateral relations, to increase services, and to respond to the demands of our citizens.
We have kicked off today, Mr. President, a new stage in bilateral relations, a stage which is seen under the light of renewed spirits when we speak of our challenges and where we have to share responsibility.
We share problems, and solutions must be shared, also. We cannot have a North America which is safer if we do not thrust its prosperity at the same time. Mr. President, I'm happy to see that you said today that it was essential that your Congress can approve reforms in migration that you are thrusting.
You have also mentioned the importance of development in those nations which see many of its citizens going out, and that you are, indeed, supporting all that has to be done. We coincide in giving an integral response to migration and to thrust development in countries which are seeing their citizens going elsewhere for better conditions. We hope that for the good of Mexico and the United States we will soon be able to, under your leadership, find a framework, a legislative framework in both our Congresses which will tend to the needs of migration. Only with shared responsibility will we live in an America with harmony and with work.
In Mexico we do not abandon our objective of becoming in the near future one of the five most thriving and stronger economies of the world. That's why we want Mexico to be one of the best destinations for investments. And in so doing, we are working arduously in order to structure what we need in order to have sustainable development, sustained development, to tend to the needs of our societies. We want all Mexicans to find here in their soil the opportunities that they need for their development and well-being. I'm certain that the United States, a society which is characterized by diversity and by work, understands economic and social efforts put forth by Mexico today.
Mr. President, I would like to recall the words of Benjamin Franklin, when he said, either we all work together towards peace or we will never find it. Mexico and the United States have a fruitful and sound alliance. We are friends, we are neighbors, and strategic partners. We have common goals for development. We share values, such as democracy, freedom, and respect for human rights and the law. I am certain that from this very important meeting our governments will continue to work with new spirits to foster international cooperation and to reach better levels of development.
With that conviction in mind, allow me to raise my glass -- allow me to raise my glass and to make a toast for the health and well-being of President Bush and his distinguished wife, and for the prosperity and happiness of Mexicans and U.S. citizens. Thank you very much.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, Mrs. Zavala, members of your government, governor of Yucatán, the Mayor of Mérida, other government officials, distinguished guests, buenas noches, y gracias. Laura and I are delighted to be back in Mexico. We're grateful for the warm hospitality of President Calderón and Mrs. Zavala. We appreciate the chance to dine in this beautiful setting, which calls to mind Mexico's rich history and its bright future.
For Laura and me, the connection to Mexico stretches back for decades. Somos Tejanos. We have come to admire your country, the people, and your culture. As governor, I worked closely with my counterparts on this side of the border and made a lot of friends in Mexico. As President, Mexico was the first country I visited, and the first country whose leader I welcomed for a state dinner at the White House. Over the past six years, I've traveled all across your nation -- from here in Mérida to Monterrey to Los Cabos on the Pacific Coast. And this evening the relationship between Mexico and the United States is as strong and is as vibrant as it has ever been, and President Calderón and I intend to keep it that way.
The ties between our countries are deep and lasting. We are united by the bonds of family. We are united by the growing commerce that crosses our border each day. And we are united in our faith in an Almighty God.
The accident of geography made our two countries neighbors, but common values have made us friends. The most important value we share is our belief in democracy, and last year the world saw Mexican democracy in action. Across the country, large numbers of voters turned out for an election that was open, honest and really close. Come to think of it, it sounds familiar to me. (Laughter.) Your fidelity to the democratic process was the mark of a nation growing in confidence and freedom. And in the end, the Mexican people chose a good man to be their President.
Shortly before his inauguration, President Calderón came to see me in the Oval Office. I was impressed by his character, his leadership and his devotion to the Mexican people. He's an innovative thinker with a vision of justice and prosperity for all in this nation. And during his first 100 days as President he's shown his commitment to delivering results for all the people he has served. In my conversations today he shared his willingness to work with members of all political parties and with people from all sectors of the civil society.
Today we discussed the President's top priorities. I share those priorities. His top priority is to provide security throughout the country. He's taking bold steps to enforce the rule of law, and to crack down on organized crime and drugs, and reform the judicial system.
The United States is a strong partner in these efforts. We've got work to do on our side of the border. People provide drugs because there is a demand for drugs. And the United States must do a better job of reducing the demand for drugs. And at the same time, I look forward to close cooperation. We'll work with the President and other Presidents in our region to interdict the supply of drugs.
President Calderón also knows the importance of creating new opportunities for Mexico's economy. He's laid out innovative policies to combat poverty and to create jobs. I found one of his policies most interesting -- rewarding Mexican companies that hire first-time workers. And I appreciate his strong commitment to housing and infrastructure in southern Mexico.
He's called for economic reforms that encourage competition and fight corruption. He understands the importance of free and fair trade. The United States welcomes a strong Mexican economy and we fully understand that we must work together to facilitate a smooth transition to full trade, especially on sensitive issues such as corn and beans.
President Calderón holds deep convictions on the matter of migration -- and so do I. Our nations share a 2,000-mile border, and that should be a source of unity, not division. So we're working together to keep both sides of the border open to tourism and trade, and closed to criminals and drug dealers and smugglers and terrorists and gun runners.
I appreciate the President's commitment to secure Mexican borders on both the North and the South. And I told the President today -- and I'm going to keep repeating it while I'm here in Mexico -- that I know our country must have comprehensive immigration reform. We are a rule of law. But it's important for the American citizens to understand that family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River, and that it's in our nation's interests to have a comprehensive immigration law, so we can uphold the great values of America, values based on human dignity and the worth of each individual.
And so, Mr. President, it's been a good day. We spent a lot of time talking about important issues in a very constructive and friendly way. I appreciate your candor. I appreciate your being straightforward. And, I, too, would like to offer a toast, to good people of Mexico and its leaders.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
END 8:30 P.M. (Local)