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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 March, 2005, 23:31 GMT
Rice reaffirms Mexico relations
By Claire Marshall
BBC News correspondent in Mexico City

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez in Mexico City
Ms Rice's visit came at a delicate time in bilateral relations
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has reaffirmed the warmth of the relationship between Mexico and the US during a one-day visit to Mexico City.

It comes after a slight chilling in the ties between the two neighbours.

A deal on a water dispute was announced, but there were no concrete developments declared in other areas, most notably on the immigration issue.

Some 10 million Mexicans live and work in the US. Last year, they sent nearly $17bn dollars back home.

There were high hopes when Mexican President Vicente Fox took office in 2000 that Mexico would at last reach a deal with the US to give these workers some form of legal status.

President Fox had a good relationship with US President George W Bush.

The American leader's first foreign visit as president was to Mr Fox's private ranch in Mexico.

However, the 11 September attacks in 2001 meant that the US focus immediately switched onto strengthening border security, rather than trying to reach a deal on immigration issues.

Four years on, and there is still no agreement.

'Success story'

On Thursday, Ms Rice was all smiles as she stood beside Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Dervez after they met for half-an-hour.

Hispanic workers in the US
The majority of illegal workers in the US are Mexican

She described him as an old friend and called him by his first name.

The talks seem to be primarily a planning meeting for a Texas summit in March between the leaders of the US, Mexico and Canada.

Ms Rice's visit also comes after the US ambassador to Mexico criticised the Mexican government for its failure to tackle rising crime and corruption.

Mexican officials reacted with indignation calling his words interfering.

Ms Rice had soothing words to calm these troubled diplomatic waters describing Mexico as a remarkable success story in the region with many positive trends to be proud of.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Why the US and Mexico are friendly again




SEE ALSO:
US and Mexico ease border tension
30 Jan 05 |  Americas
Mexico raps US warning on safety
27 Jan 05 |  Americas
US and Mexico hold border talks
18 Jan 05 |  Americas
US flies 'illegal' Mexicans home
13 Jul 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Mexico
09 Dec 04 |  Country profiles


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