U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Monday, after the two presidents made no progress on contentious issues of trade and human rights at their North American summit in Guadalajara, Mexico.
A senior White House official describes Sunday's meeting between Mr. Obama and Mr. Calderon as "cordial."
The U.S. president expressed strong support for Mr. Calderon's efforts to fight drug cartels. But President Calderon said the United States should move faster to send Mexico the $1.4 billion it has promised over three years to counter organized crime. One hundred million dollars of that money is being delayed because some U.S. lawmakers are concerned about alleged human rights abuses by the Mexican army.
US to be 'Helpful Neighbor'
Even so, U.S. National Security Advisor General James Jones has said Washington will continue to work closely with the Mexican government in fighting the drug cartels. He said, "The Calderon government has, in fact, performed very courageously in the face of these cartels and I think, we think, that we have to do everything we can to be a helpful neighbor and partner to make sure that we are successful in this."
Mr. Calderon also wanted to know what Mr. Obama would do about the U.S. ban on Mexican trucks on its roads. The U.S. president had promised to restore a program that would allow Mexican truckers into the United States. But under pressure from labor unions and consumer groups, Mr. Obama later signed a bill that included a ban on spending for the program. Mexico then slapped tariffs on dozens of U.S. products. Mr. Obama told his host he would "try to move forward," but said Congress has "legitimate safety concerns" about Mexican trucks.
Later, the two leaders met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper over dinner. All three will hold a lengthy meeting on Monday, before holding a press conference and returning home. Featured prominently on Monday's agenda are efforts to contain any new outbreak of H1N1 swine flu and strategies to revive the three countries' economies.
More Summits Ahead
White House officials say the president has met with the Canadian and Mexican leaders a combined 12 times since he took office in January.
More meetings will follow in September. Prime Minister Harper has accepted an invitation to visit the White House, and all three leaders plan to attend the G-20 summit of major and developing economies, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.