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Mexican drug trafficking joins swine flu and climate change on a packed agenda of talks between North American leaders in Mexico this weekend, under the shadow of the closely-tied neighbors' economic woes.
President Felipe Calderon, who is carrying out a controversial military crackdown on organized crime in Mexico, will host US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the western city of Guadalajara for a two-day meeting starting Sunday
Leaders will also discuss the prospects for recovery in the three major economies that have been tied by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for 15 years.
Ahead of this weekend's meeting, however, a key US senator delayed the release of a report needed to free some 100 million dollars under the plan, citing human rights concerns, the Washington Post reported.
Senator Patrick Leahy said in a statement that it was not clear that Mexico's security forces were accountable to the rule of law.
Washington's controversial "Buy American" policy is expected to trump all other continental issues during meetings between the three North American leaders in Guadalajara, Mexico.
While border security and the economy will also be on the table at the Sunday/Monday meeting, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's Felipe Calderon will likely form a united front against protectionist policies included by Congress in the White House stimulus plan.
After all, the restrictive trade policies threaten to block both Mexico and Canada from taking part in Washington's mammoth recovery scheme -- a problem which could cost both countries billions in cross-border contracts