MEXICO CITY -- U.S. Vice President Al Gore on Wednesday announced U.S. President Bill Clinton's intention to conduct a summit next year with democratically elected heads of state from throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Gore spoke of future integration with other Latin American countries, and announced on behalf of Clinton a summit with 'the democratically elected heads of state of North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.'
Al Gore also hailed the North American Free Trade Agreement as a victory of 'optimism over fear' with promise of a bright future for Mexico, the United States and Canada as equal partners.
Gore, who met with Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, spoke at the National Auditorium in Mexico City in an address sprinkled with Spanish phrases and references to Latin American historyand literature.
Gore recalled the 1947 visit by former U.S. President Harry Truman and the wreath he placed at Chapultepec Castle in honor of Mexico's 'Child Heroes' who jumped off the battlements in the face of invading U.S. forces a century before.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, Gore said, 'offers a future not of martyrdom but bright promise, one that Mexico, Canada and the United States enter with the dignity of equal partners.'
Gore hailed the agreement, approved last month by the U.S. Congress and due to take effect Jan. 1, 1994, as 'a testament to the courage and vision of Mexico,' and a victory of 'optimism over fear.'
'Without Mexico's willingness to embrace change, there would be no NAFTA,' Gore said.