WASHINGTON – President Bush will work to smooth relations with America's neighbors to the north and south on March 23 when he meets with Mexican President Vicente Fox (search) and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin (search) in Texas.
Bush will hold working sessions with Fox and Martin at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and host a lunch for them at his ranch in nearby Crawford, where he will be taking an Easter break.
"The three leaders will discuss ways to strengthen our continent's common security and enhance our people's common prosperity," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.
Relations between the United States and its neighbors have been lukewarm.
When he took office, Martin promised to improve U.S.-Canada relations, which had fallen to a new low when former Prime Minister Jean Chretien (search) declined to take part in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Bush made a recent goodwill visit to Ottawa. But last month, Canada announced its decision to opt out of a U.S.-led anti-ballistic missile shield program — a likely subject during the meeting later this month.
The president's relations with Mexico also have been chilly because of differences over Bush's policy in Iraq and border issues.
Fox made migration reform in the United States a top foreign policy priority, but the issue slipped to Bush's back burner after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bush has renewed his support for changing U.S. immigration law to allow undocumented laborers to work legally in the United States.
In January, however, another flap occurred when the State Department issued a travel advisory alerting citizens of recent drug trafficking and kidnappings on the Mexican side of the border.
Fox said he respected the United States' need to keep its citizens informed. But Fox said he thought a letter written by U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza that was critical of local law enforcement's fight against border crime went too far.