Obama to meet Mexican president before inauguration

January 9th, 2009 - 9:36 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 9 (IANS) US president-elect Barack Obama will meet Mexican President Felipe Calderon Monday as part of a long-standing tradition between the two countries, EFE news agency reported Friday, quoting sources with Obama’s transition team. The meeting, which will occur at Mexico’s Cultural Institute in Washington, will be the Obama’s first with a foreign head of state since he won the Nov 4 presidential election and the two leaders are expected to discuss matters such as regional security and immigration, sources said.

In Mexico, the President’s Office confirmed in a communique that Calderon will travel to Washington Jan 12 to hold a private working meeting with Obama.

The get-together is in line with a tradition in US politics dating from 1980, according to which presidents-elect meet with Mexican presidents before being sworn in.

George W. Bush had travelled to Mexico in February 2001 on his first foreign visit as president. And than, he received Mexico’s then-president, Vicente Fox, Sep 5, 2001.

The two men were very close to reaching an immigration accord that would have permitted the legalisation of undocumented immigrants in the US, the majority of whom come from Mexico.

But the Sep 11, 2001, terrorist attacks resulted in a shelving of those efforts, and the US Congress still has not managed to agree on an immigration reform plan.

US lawmakers last year approved the Merida Initiative, a regional security plan that includes $1.4 billion in aid for Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic over three years to combat drug trafficking violence.

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