Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Tuesday here demanded greater U.S. cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking, as well as the development of ways to reduce the traffickers' profit margins.

"The key question is the demand for drugs," said Calderon during a speech he gave upon receiving an award from the Council of the Americas.

"But if the consumption of drugs cannot be limited, then decision-makers must seek more solutions - including market alternatives - in order to reduce the astronomical earnings of criminal organizations," he said.

Calderon referred to the violence associated with the drug trade and asked that an end be put to the sale of assault weapons to the cartels, since that type of armament is mainly produced in the United States.

Gangland violence has claimed more than 40,000 lives in Mexico since December 2006, when the newly inaugurated Calderon militarized the struggle against drug traffickers.

Calderon also mentioned the issue of immigration, a matter of great important for both Mexico and the United States and about which he said that according to a university study the northbound flow of Mexicans has diminished and may have stopped, a situation he attributed to better socio-economic conditions in Mexico.

The Mexican leader, who is in New York to attend the preliminary meetings associated with the 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly, added that his countrymen "are better educated" and are crossing the U.S. border in smaller numbers.

In his opinion, that shows that Mexican workers have better education and training and also that the labor force is more productive and can achieve greater competitiveness.