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Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 20:50 UK

Mexico 'courage' on drugs praised

From left to right: Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President Barack Obama
The summit in Mexico was dubbed the meeting of three amigos

US President Barack Obama has praised Mexico's leaders for their "courage" in fighting drugs cartels.

At a regional summit in Guadalajara, he said Mexico's President Felipe Calderon had pledged to uphold human rights.

The Mexican military has been accused by rights groups of widespread abuses in its war on drugs traffickers.

In Guadalajara, Mr Obama, Mr Calderon and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to fight swine flu and restore growth across North America.

"I heartily commend President Calderon and his government for their determination and courage in taking on these [drugs] cartels," Mr Obama said.

He said he had great confidence that "human rights will be observed" under Mr Calderon.

For his part, Mr Calderon said his government had an "absolute and categorical" commitment to human rights.

Pressing issues

In a final summit statement, the three leaders promised to forge a joint position on climate change and also reaffirmed the need to reject trade protectionism.

The three leaders also reaffirmed their support for ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, saying he remained the rightful leader of the country.

The summit in Guadalajara had been dubbed the meeting of three amigos, but the leaders apparently failed to resolve several pressing issues.

Mexico is concerned that recent US moves, including a ban on Mexican truckers operating in the US, suggest protectionism and could worsen its economic situation.

At the summit, Mr Harper raised with Mr Obama Canada's concerns that the Buy America provisions in the multibillion dollar US economic stimulus plan could shut out Canadian companies.

But Mr Obama said that the provisions had not hurt trade with Canada - America's largest partner.

"This in no way has endangered the billions of dollars in trade taking place between our two countries," he said.

Mexico has also been unhappy with Canada's decision to require visas from Mexican visitors to the country.



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