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US, Canadian, Mexican Leaders Wrap Up Summit
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Leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico on Tuesday hurriedly wrapped up a two-day summit in Montebello, Quebec of Canada, which was dogged by protesters and overshadowed by Hurricane Dean from its very beginning, reports reaching Washington said.


US President George W. Bush (L), Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C), and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon (R), after participating in a joint press availability after the two-day North American Leaders' Summit at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Canada, August 21, 2007.


At a press conference after their talks, US President George W. Bush said he discussed bilateral and other issues with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.


"Stephen and I talked about border issues. Of course, Felipe Calderon and I talked about border issues and migration," Bush said.


He said the leaders had made "some good progress toward eliminating barriers and to harmonizing regulations to the point where more prosperity will come to be."


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


The summit was cut short as Calderon had planned to leave early, when Hurricane Dean slammed into the Caribbean coast of Mexico on Tuesday.


Harper said at the press conference that the leaders agreed to discuss the protection of consumers and were looking at products entering the nations.


He said they also recognized the importance of finding practical, pragmatic solutions to the environmental challenges, by finding their own sustainable energies and national standards on energy efficiency.


The discussions did not only deal with North America, but also a number of other international and hemispheric questions such as climate change and the Middle East, said the Canadian prime minister.


Calderon said the leaders talked about security, prosperity, sustainable development and the challenges faced by their countries, by the region, and by the whole world, and that he would return to Yucatan, Mexico, which was expected to be hit by the hurricane, as soon as his aircraft could land, to supervise the rescue operations there.


Bush told Claderon on Tuesday that the US was prepared to provide help for Mexico to deal with the damage inflicted by Hurricane Dean.


"I want you to know that US agencies are in close touch with the proper Mexican authorities, and if you so desire help, we stand ready to help," Bush was quoted as saying at the summit.


In response to questions about Iraq, Bush said that it was up to the Iraqis to decide whether Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki should be replaced or not.


Senator Carl Levin, the influential chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Monday declared the government of Iraq "non-functional" after a two-day trip to the country. He said that Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki and his cabinet should be ousted if they are unable to forge a political compromise with rival factions in a matter of days.


(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2007)

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