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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 13, 2007

President Bush and President Calderón of Mexico Exchange Luncheon Toasts
Hacienda Temozón
Mérida, Mexico

      President's Trip to Latin America

12:45 P.M. (Local)

PRESIDENT CALDERÓN: President George Bush, President of the United States of America; distinguished Laura Bush; distinguished members of the delegation accompanying President and Mrs. Bush. For the people in government of Mexico, it is a great satisfaction to have the presence of the President of the United States and his distinguished wife in Yucat n. A proud Mexico, proud of its culture, its roots and history, receives you.

You are also in a modern country, a country which is ever more interrelated and interdependent. Mexico is a nation with a sound past, but also with a sound future; a nation which modernizes in order to face the 21st century. A democratic nation which shares with the United States values -- values of freedom, of democracy, of respect to rule of law and individual rights, and the defense of human rights. Mexico, then, is a freer, safer, and more democratic country.

I have believe, as you do, Mr. President, that our work as leaders takes us to have a better world for our people and for North America. And we hope that we, together, can thrust, within the framework of equality, a future of development and well-being in our region.

I am certain that if we continue to work together we will be able to face the many challenges of our agenda; issues such as migration, combat poverty, the environment, organized crime, and regional trade.

And if you allow me, I would like to toast the health and well-being of President Bush and his wife, and the prosperity and happiness of our peoples in the United States and Mexico. Cheers.

(A toast is offered.)

PRESIDENT BUSH: Señor Presidente, thank you very much for your gracious hospitality. I think you picked a perfect place to invite Laura and me and our delegation. It's a beautiful land. It is a spectacular day. And our meetings were constructive. Thank you, First Lady, for your hospitality, as well.

Relations between Mexico and the United States are muy importante. We've got a great history. We've got a strong tradition of working together. And my job, Mr. President, is to do all I can to work with you to advance progress on both sides of the border.

There are issues, of course, issues that we discussed today and will continue to discuss in a manner of respect and dignity. Perhaps the biggest issue concerning your country is the issue of migration. America is a country of law, we'll respect law, but America is also a hospitable country, a country that recognizes the value of each human being. And as the President of your grand country, I know you're deeply concerned about how your citizens are treated within our country. And my pledge to you and the people of Mexico is they'll be treated with respect and dignity.

The best way to do that is to pass a migration law that upholds the values of America, and at the same time, allows us to respect the rule of law. As I told you in private, as you expressed your deep concerns about whether or not America can pass such a law, that I will use all the efforts I can, working with both Republicans and Democrats, to pass such a piece of legislation.

We spent a lot of time talking about Mexico's important role in the world, and I thank you for your leadership, Mr. President. You're President of a great country. You will use your influence to foster social justice and prosperity and peace. I look forward to your leadership on such issues -- I look forward to helping you as best I can, as best as you request to do so.

And I, too, would like to offer a toast. I'd like to offer a toast to the great people of a great country, nuestro amigo, México, and to your salud, Mr. President.

(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)

END 12:51 P.M. (Local)

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