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President-elect Carlos Salinas de Gortari says he hopes to strengthen Mexico's relations with the United States, which have soured over drug trafficking, illegal immigration and political differences about Central America.

Salinas also wants to expand economic ties with Western Europe and Asia after he begins his six-year term Dec. 1. The president-elect is from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which has governed Mexico since 1929.Although never smooth, relations between Mexico and the United States reached their lowest point in decades under the six-year term of President Miguel de la Madrid.

The latest diplomatic incident occurred in June when Mexico ignored an American request for the extradition of Puerto Rican separatist William Morales, by releasing him from jail and allowing him to fly to Cuba.

The United States called the action an "inexplicable affront" and called Ambassador Charles J. Pilliod Jr. back to Washington for consultations - a gesture of great displeasure in diplomatic practice.

Earlier in de la Madrid's term, then-Ambassador John Gavin made U.S. displeasure just as clear over the investigation of the 1985 kidnap-slaying of Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique Camarena Salazar in Guadalajara. Washington said Mexican authorities were going too slow.

Other irritants in relations have been Mexico's support of Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government and its refusal to consider the Central American conflict a result of the East-West crisis, Mexican illegal immigration to the United States, terms for Mexican foreign debt payments and alleged U.S. trade barriers to importing Mexican goods.

In speeches and interviews during the campaign, Salinas has stressed the need for fence-mending.