A week before he comes to the United States to meet with President Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox is stressing that there is no evidence of terrorist activity along the more than 3200 kilometer border shared by the United States and Mexico.
The long and winding border that divides Mexico and the United States is considered by some security experts to be vulnerable to terrorist incursions.
President Vicente Fox, who along with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, is visiting President Bush's Texas ranch next week for a tri-lateral meeting, says that anti-terrorism is a top priority for all three countries, particularly along the borders.
During a news conference Wednesday for U.S. media based in Mexico, Mr. Fox stressed the importance of vigilance and cross-border cooperation in protecting against the terrorist threat. However, he said that, so far, there are no signs that terrorists are trying to enter the United States through Mexico.
"In the case of terrorism, we don't have any evidence or any indication either that terrorists from al-Qaida or any other part of the world are coming into Mexico in going into the Untied States. We don't have absolutely any evidence of that. And if there is any of that evidence, we will like to have it. But as I said it does not exist," said Mr. Fox.
President Fox described the Mexico-U.S. border as one of the busiest in the world, with more than one million people crossing daily between the two countries. To ensure the security of the area, he said the security and intelligence services of the U.S. and Mexico work closely together.
Besides the border, another important issue between Mexico and the United States is the access of Mexican workers into the United States. Mr. Fox expressed his approval of legislation now before the U.S. Congress that would allow millions of Mexicans to work temporarily in the United States. The legislation, called the Temporary Worker Program, has the strong support of President Bush. The Mexican leader said he was not going to try to bring pressure on Congress to get the legislation approved.
"We don't do direct lobbying or [take that] approach with Congressmen or women, except the fact that we want to make sure that there's full and clear information about the advantages of migration into a country, and the specific advantages for competitiveness, for other matters in the United States," he added.
Professor Lorenzo Meyer of the College of Mexico is a specialist on and U.S.-Mexican relations. He says President Fox, who is near the end of his presidency and cannot run again, is heading for Texas with very few political cards in his hands.
“Bush is in complete command,” he said. “He is the successful conqueror of Iraq and President Fox is a very weak political actor in Mexico.”
President Fox is due to visit Mr. Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas on March 23.