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Public Statements

Remarks By President Barack Obama And Mexican President Felipe Calderon


Location: Los Pinos, Mexico


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(Note: President Calderon's remarks are through an interpreter.)

PRESIDENT CALDERON: Your Excellency, Mr. Barack Obama, president of the United States of America, ladies and gentlemen of the accompanying delegation, ladies and gentlemen: For the people and the government of Mexico, it is a reason of great joy to welcome today President Barack Obama. Mr. President, you are most welcome to our country.

Almost half a century ago, Mexico welcomed also, with thrill and emotion and care, President John F. Kennedy.

On that occasion, this great statesman said, about our relationship, geography has made us neighbors; history has made us friends; economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. So those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.

Today, Mexico and the United States, we are, we can and we must be neighbors, friends, partners and allies. We are connected through our past, through our historic and demographic ties.

Our present brings us together, because we share challenges and opportunities. And particularly we're united by a vision of a future of a North American region with greater development and more prosperers, with a more competitive economy and a comprehensive and integrated one, a North America that will be safer of the threats of terrorism and organized crime, a North America that embraces fully its responsibilities that have to do with the global arena and with the environment.

To build this future, Mexico is doing its part.

My country is immersed in a historic transformation process. We live a robust democracy, which is also plural. We're also facing firmly the costs of the struggle in order to turn Mexico into a safer country.

We are a nation that firmly believes in freedom -- economic freedom and political freedom -- and in this integration as the way for development. We're promoting structural reforms to modernize our economy and to make it more competitive. At the same time, we're conducting major efforts to put an end to extreme poverty and backlog, and to build a fairer society whose children will not have to abandon their land for lack of opportunity.

We truly believe that it is possible to transform Mexico. And with this goal in mind, we work constantly every day. We know that many of the challenges that we face call for the joining efforts among governments and their people.

As you have pointed it out, Mr. President, there has been another way of doing politics, a tradition based in the simple idea that whatever happens to our neighbor should not remain indifferent, upon the basic notion that what brings us together is more important than what separates us.

I am fully that Mexico and the United States of America can and must act under these principles. We have before us the opportunity to initiate a new era of trust and cooperation.

Mr. President, let's start this new era in the relationships between the United States of America and Mexico, a new era where we shall forge together the sustainable development of our people and the prosperity of our citizens, in which we will work together to turn our common border into an example of productivity and security.

An era where we will raise competitiveness at the regional level and where we will recognize that in order to grow and prosper Mexico needs the United States' investments and the United States of America needs the strength of the Mexican labor force, an era -- a new era where the human rights of all will be respected in either side of the border.

A new era where fighting organized crime will be fully embraced with a shared responsibility, as a battle that Americans and Mexicans have to fight and that we shall win as allies, where the safety of our people will be conquered and preserved as the fruit of our common effort.

A new era of understanding among our people in order to reach a fairer perception and understanding of migration; a new era upon which the proposal that you have issued to the American people would reach a migratory comprehensive reform that will open up the door of hope for the re-encounter of thousands of Mexican families that are split in both sides of the border.

A new era of agreements in the international arena, where our countries will be active promoters of global solutions to the major challenges of our time -- the global economic crisis and climate change.

A new era where both neighboring nations, yet different in their origin, history and culture, come together to foster the world, to embrace clear and determining commitments in our fight against climate change, and for the preservation of nature and our common future destiny as mankind.

Mr. President Obama, I know that this new era is possible, if we work together. Mexico and the United States will manage to overcome the challenges that the 21st century places before us.

(In English.) Mr. President, let's build a new era. Yes, we can. (Through interpreter.) Once again, welcome to Mexico. (Applause.)

We now give the floor to His Excellency, President Barack Obama, president of the United States of America.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you very much. This is an extraordinary honor and an extraordinary pleasure to be here in Mexico with all of you today.

I want to thank President Calderon and his wonderful first lady and the delegation for their hospitality and facilitating this trip. And I want to thank the people of Mexico for the warmth with which I've been received, especially the young people who are here today. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

You know, there is a reason why the first visit that I had with a foreign leader after my election was with President Calderon.

It was a reminder, as John F. Kennedy said, that the bonds between our two countries cannot be broken. We are joined by a border. But our bonds are so much more than that.

In my hometown of Chicago, the population is at least one-third made up of people of Mexican heritage. All across America, all across the United States, we have benefitted from the culture, the language, the insight, the literature, the energy, the ambitions, of people who have migrated from our southern neighbor. And my hope is that the United States has something to offer to Mexico as well.

So our relationship, our friendship, is strong.

But as President Calderon said, we can make it stronger.

At a time where all of us are dealing with an extraordinary global recession, where unemployment is on the rise, where credit has begun to shrink and where businesses are struggling, it is more important than ever that we work together not only to restore economic growth in Mexico and the United States but also to make sure that growth is sustainable and to make sure that growth is from the bottom up, so that each and every person, every young person here in Mexico as well as every young person in the United States, has an opportunity to live out their dreams.

At a time when the Mexican government has so courageously taken on the drug cartels that have plagued both sides of the borders, it is absolutely critical that the United States joins as a full partner in dealing with this issue, both through initiatives like the Merida Initiative, but also on our side of the border, in dealing with the flow of guns and cash south.

And in a time when Mexico is not just a regional leader but now a global leader, as shown by its outstanding participation in the G-20 summit and other multilateral organizations, it's critical that we join together around issues that can't be solved by any one nation: issues like climate change, issues like poverty, issues like terrorism.

These are issues in which the United States and Mexico will have to stand side by side in order to promote common security and common prosperity.

So it is wonderfully fitting to see the children of Mexico as well as, I suspect, a few children of the United States here together, waving flags of both countries, because we are reminded -- because we are reminded that ultimately the reason that we serve in government, ultimately the reason that bilateral relationships like this are so important, is because it allows us to promote a better future for our children. That's what we're fighting for, for their dreams, for their opportunities, for their futures.

And I am very much looking forward to developing the kind of relationship between Mexico and the United States that will allow all the children here and all of the children in both countries to thrive for years to come.

So thank you very much, Mr. President, Madame First Lady and all of you for welcoming me in such a gracious way. Thank you.

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