The Salahi Effect? White House Hopes for Smoother State Dinner This Time

On the table for discussion, senior administration officials said: economic competitiveness, clean energy cooperation, the safety and security of both countries, efforts to address the drug war, and cooperation on hemispheric and global issues – from Honduras to Haiti, Iran and the upcoming G-20 meetings next month in Toronto.

"The United States has a major stake in Mexico's economic recovery and in the success of President Calderon's efforts against the drug cartels," Peter DeShazo, director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. says. "Mexico is the second-largest source of imported oil for the United States and the third-largest U.S. trade partner. The bilateral relationship is complex and multifaceted, going well beyond the important variables related to border management."

President Calderon will likely raise the issue of the denial of access by Mexican trucks into the United States, which is in violation of the NAFTA agreement, looking for change in the US stance on the issue.

During his visit to Mexico in April of last year, President Obama stood beside President Calderon and promised that he would seek the ratification of the inter-American treaty known as CIFTA to curb small arms trafficking that is a source of so many of the weapons used in the drug war.

The Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Items -- best known by its Spanish acronym CIFTA -- was adopted by the Organization of American States 12 years ago, in 1997. President Clinton sent it to the Senate the following year, and CIFTA hasn't been heard from since.

The treaty makes the unauthorized manufacture and exporting of firearms illegal and calls for nations in this hemisphere to establish a process for information-sharing among different countries' law enforcement divisions to stop the smuggling of arms, to adopt strict licensing requirements, and to make firearms easier to trace. Despite President Obama's promise, this has not been done yet.

"The president will confirm his commitment to work with the Calderon government and with Congress to address the legitimate concerns that exist regarding the Mexican trucking program while also abiding by our international obligations," a senior administration official says, "It is an important issue. We recognize its importance to President Calderon and to the relationship."

The two leaders will discuss the controversial issue of immigration, recently thrust back into the spotlight with the passage of Arizona's immigration law last month.

The Arizona law as written states that "For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person."

Both men have been outspoken in their opposition to this law.

Calderon has said it is opening the door, "to intolerance, hate, discrimination and abuse and law enforcement."

Mr. Obama recently has recently said this law was "poorly conceived" and "not the right way to go."

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