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N. American Leaders Begin Summit amid Protests
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The leaders of Canada, the US and Mexico arrived on Monday in Montebello, Canada, to begin a two-day summit to boost trilateral trade and security cooperation.


US President George W. Bush (R) talks with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper before the start of a bilateral meeting in Montebello, Quebec on August 20, 2007.


The summit is the third of its kind under the framework of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SSP), which was launched at the first "Three Amigos" summit in Waco, Texas, in March 2005.


Apart from the traditional topics of trade and security, the leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, US President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, will also review the current turmoil in the financial markets triggered by a subprime loan meltdown, organizers said.


"This meeting is a reaffirmation of the commitment that all three of these countries have to create a secure and prosperous continent," agencies reports quoted White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe as saying.


"I don't expect any major announcements to come from the meeting," Johndroe said. "I think it's a continuance of discussions that we have regularly with our two closest neighbors."


US President George W. Bush (R) shakes hands with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon after arriving at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Canada, during the two-day North American Leaders' Summit with Canada and Mexico, August 20, 2007.


The summit, held at a cabin resort in Montebello, about 80 kilometers northeast of Ottawa, has been dogged by protesters who are concerned with the lack of transparency in the summit and its outcome.


To prevent the protesters from derailing the summit, organizers have erected a fence three meters high and running 2.5 kilometers around the venue of the gathering.


(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2007)

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