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Bush, Fox stress migration, Iraq, Korea

By IAN CAMPBELL, UPI Chief Economics Correspondent   |   Oct. 26, 2002 at 2:59 PM   |   Comments

LOS CABOS, Mexico, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Vicente Fox of Mexico announced Saturday that they would continue efforts to reach an agreement on Mexican migration to the United States, to help poor Mexican farmers and other common interests.

The Mexican president also expressed his support for tackling the threats posed by Iraq and North Korea. Both are believed to be trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. The two leaders spoke to reporters at an economics summit in Mexico.

Bush and Fox appeared less relaxed than during previous meetings but emphasized their friendship as neighbors with common interests.

Bush said that he and Fox share a "mutual desire to tackle the (Mexican) migration issue" and emphasized the need to "respect" Mexican residents in the United States. Bush pointed to the "wage differential" between the United States and Mexico and said that the "long-term solution to the migration issue," which both he and Fox sought, was to create more work in Mexico not only near the U.S. border but "in the midst of Mexico, in the south of Mexico so that people can have a job at home."

Bush's comments on the need to create jobs in Mexico did not suggest any fresh breakthrough on migration negotiations was near. Mexico's desire has been for an accord that would legalize at least some of the Mexican workers currently living illegally in the United States.

Bush and Fox were asked about their approach to agricultural subsidies in the United States, which the Bush administration increased this year, provoking an outcry in Mexico and elsewhere. The subsidies encourage higher U.S. production and make it more difficult for producers elsewhere to compete.

Fox said that the two presidents were "working together in a cooperative way" so that "poor Mexican producers would have an opportunity to earn income."

On the issue of international terrorism, Bush said that he had been encouraged by comments Friday by President Jiang Zemin of China, that "the Korean peninsula should be nuclear weapons-free." Bush added that the United States is trying to persuade Korean leader Kim Jong Il that a nuclear-free Korea was "in his interests."

On the question of the threat posed by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Bush said he would repeat what he had said before, that "If the United Nations won't act, if Saddam Hussein won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."

Fox's comments on the need to tackle Hussein were supportive. He said Mexico wanted to see a "strong resolution" from the United Nations that was "satisfactory for the United States," so that "international terrorism did not proliferate."

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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