Bush, Fox follow up previous talks on trade, visas
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush on Thursday met with Mexican President Vicente Fox to discuss temporary visas for Mexican workers and plans for long-range energy development between Mexico, the United States and Canada.
The White House said the meeting was the fourth for the two leaders, counting two separate sessions during the Summit of the Americas in Canada last month.
Fox told reporters they discussed long-range plans for importing energy from Mexico and Canada, which have large reserves of oil and natural gas. But those discussions were sketchy, Fox said, pending recommendations from an energy task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney.
”We’re basically just discussing the idea,” Fox said. ”There is nothing yet … on anything specific. In the very end, what we are shooting for is making sure that all three countries associated in NAFTA have the energy to keep our economies moving.”
Thursday’s meeting followed up on their Quebec City discussions on trade, efforts to fight drug smuggling, and progress on a temporary U.S. visa program for Mexican workers.
Fox said they talked about ”an orderly system” through which Mexican residents could work in the United States ”so that they don’t have to be hiding away from anybody. The can go back and forth.”
”We are not shooting for naturalizing them, or making them Americans,” Fox said. ”It’s not what they are looking for, it’s not what we are looking for.”
A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that Bush and Fox also discussed giving Mexican trucks full access to U.S. highways. The official did not provide specifics.
Bush extended an invitation to Fox to pay a state visit Sept. 5-7.
”This will be the first state visit of the Bush administration, and highlights the warm friendship between our two countries and peoples,” said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.
”It is an honor for us,” Fox said.
Bush and Fox were both speaking later Thursday at the 95th annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee.
In a nod to Hispanic culture, the White House announced plans for a Cinco de Mayo celebration Friday on the White House lawn. The president invited about 300 guests, including Mexican ambassador Juan Jose Bremer Martino, actor Esai Morales of NYPD Blue and musician Emilio Estefan, husband of singer Gloria Estefan.
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