|Busu meets Canadian,Miexican leaders|
US President George W. Bush
and the leaders of Canada
on Wednesday vowed to strengthen economic and security ties, including on border security and infrastructure protection.
In a joint statement on the establishment of the new "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America", Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox said they had agreed to promote collaboration in energy, transportation, financial services and technology.
The leaders, meeting at Baylor University, also agreed to reduce costs of trade through "efficient movement of goods and people," the statement said.
"We, the elected leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, gather in Texas to announce the establishment of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America," the statement said.
On the security front, the leaders pledged to continue to work together in battling terrorism.
"In a rapidly changing world, we must develop new avenues of cooperation that will make our open societies safer and more secure, our businesses more competitive, and our economies more resilient," the statement said.
The three countries pledged to establish a common approach to security to protect North America from external threats and prevent and respond to threats within North America.
They said they would implement common border security and bioprotection strategies and strengthen infrastructure protection.
The pact calls for improving aviation and maritime security, combating transnational threats, and strengtheningintelligence partnerships.
It also called for increasing North American competitiveness and promoting collaboration in the energy, transportation, financial services, and technology sectors, and to reduce the costof trade through the "efficient movement of goods and people."
The summit comes amid US-Mexico tensions over immigration issues, with Fox seeking an easing of restrictions on Mexicans working illegally in the United States.
Canada and the US have been engaged in trade disputes over Canadian lumber exports, and beef and cattle trade that has been disrupted since Canada found its first domestic case of mad cow disease.
Bush's 2003 decision to go to war in Iraq, opposed by both Fox and then-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, chilled relations on all sides.
In Canada, Martin's election last year was seen by Washington as a chance for a fresh start. However, Martin surprised Washington last month when he rebuffed Bush's offer to include Canada in the U.S. missile defense program.
Fox and Bush had warm ties when Bush first took office, but that relationship soured when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks led Bush to shelve a migration accord coveted by Mexico. Differences over Iraq only aggravated the situation.