Bush, Martin, Fox hold summit, sign SPP accord

Thursday, March 24, 2005

North America, as seen from space
North America, as seen from space

American President George Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, and Mexican President Vicente Fox met at Baylor University in Waco, Texas on Wednesday. The leaders discussed cooperation in the areas of border security, trade, and immigration, signing an accord called the "Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America."

"In a rapidly changing world, we must develop new avenues of cooperation that will make our open societies safer and more secure, our businesses more competitive, and our economies more resilient," read a joint statement released by the three leaders.

The agreement calls for greater sharing of intelligence and the strengthening of infrastructure security. It also seeks to develop a common system for screening travellers, and promotes collaboration in the sectors of transportation, energy, technology, and financial services.

Each nation will set up ministerial-level working groups that will "set specific, measurable, and achievable goals and implementation dates" and "identify concrete steps the governments can take to achieve these goals," according to a White House press release. The initial reports are due within 90 days.

President Bush, while not offering specific details, also said that he would "continue to push for reasonable, common-sense immigration policy with the United States Congress."