Felipe Calderón, due to step down as president of Mexico on Nov. 30, said Monday that he will be leaving behind "a stronger nation and a better neighbor."

The outgoing head of state addressed a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

His six-year term has witnessed a strengthening of the rule of law and an economic "transformation" based on "financial discipline, economic freedom and increased competitiveness."

Calderón expressed his wish for bilateral cooperation to continue with the next administrations of the United States and Mexico, warning that "no nation can succeed without the support of its strategic partners."

The president emphasized the achievements of his administration in economic and security matters, but he issued a call for greater integration in North America.

In reviewing his six-year term, Calderón said that his country, for example went from being the world's ninth-largest auto exporter to the No. 4 position during his time in office.

"(W)e buy more U.S. goods than the rest of Latin America combined, more than Japan and China together," he said. "Indeed, this deep transformation of the Mexican economy is of critical importance to the economic success of the United States as well."

"But if you - if we want to guarantee our mutual prosperity in the long run, we need to do more. We need to maintain the North American competitive edge over other regions, and the key to get there is more integration, not less," Calderón said.

Meanwhile, Calderón repeated his call for the U.S. government to take more comprehensive measures to reduce demand for drugs in that country or, on the contrary, "money will keep flowing to the pocket of the criminal."

If it is not possible to put the brakes on demand, he said, alternatives must be explored to improve the fight against drug trafficking, but he did not specify if these measures would include legalizing drugs, as his predecessor, Vicente Fox, had suggested.

Calderón also once again asked the U.S. Congress to renew a federal law to control the sale of assault weapons that lapsed in 2004.

In addition, he emphasized the decline in illegal emigration from Mexico and praised the decision of President Barack Obama to suspend for two years the deportation of more than half a million undocumented students who were brought to the United States by their parents.

Calderón on Monday began a three-day working visit to Washington and New York, where he will participate in the 67th U.N. General Assembly, among other things. 

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