U.S. President Barack Obama and the man who will take charge of Mexico's government in four days vowed here Tuesday to pursue economic integration and closer cooperation against organized crime.
Obama congratulated Enrique Peña Nieto for his victory in the July presidential election and described Mexico as an important "multilateral and multinational partner."
The president praised the "incredible contributions" of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. economy even as he acknowledged Mexico's interest in seeing Washington adopt comprehensive immigration reform
Mexicans make up a majority of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Re-elected on Nov. 6, Obama says he will make a renewed push for immigration reform at the beginning of his second term.
Peña Nieto, who takes office on Saturday, argued for a "rethinking" of the bilateral relationship that shifts the focus to trade and the economy, away from the current emphasis on battling Mexico's powerful drug cartels and securing the border.
The goal of the rethink is to make North America more competitive and create opportunities for expanded links with Asia, the Mexican president-elect said.
Acknowledging Mexico's drug war, which has claimed more than 60,000 lives in the last six years, Peña Nieto said his administration will put forward a new strategy to reduce the violence.
He also expressed support for Obama's immigration reform initiative.
"We want to contribute to the accomplishment so we can participate in the betterment of millions of people in your country," the Mexican leader said. EFE