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An opportunity for U.S., Mexico

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Mexican President Vicente Fox called on Congress last week to "give trust a chance." Both the United States and Mexico need to do that while committing to improve relations between the two countries.

Fox and President Bush agreed in a joint statement last Thursday that U.S.-Mexican relations have entered their most promising moment in history.

"Our governments are committed to seizing the opportunities before us in this new atmosphere of mutual trust. The depth, quality and candor of our dialogue is unprecedented. It reflects the democratic values we share and our commitment to move forward boldly as we deepen this authentic partnership of neighbors," they said.

The election of Fox a little over a year ago represents a dramatic change for Mexico. In what probably was the freest and fairest vote in the country's history, the populace put an end to 71 years of one-party rule in Mexico.

For Fox to succeed, he has to have the help of the United States. The United States is responsible for more than 80 percent of Mexico's trade. Based on his first year in office, Fox merits U.S. support.

He is pushing sound proposals. He is calling for fiscal reforms to encourage savings and investments and backs the creation of agencies to support small businesses. He also proposes expanding adult education and establishing a scholarship program with private and public funds.

In addition, Fox is committed to cracking down on corruption.

And both he and Bush are committed — as they should be — to finding an equitable solution regarding the 3 million Mexicans living illegally in the United States.

Fox wants the United States to grant those undocumented workers legal status to give them easier access to American jobs. He also, however, is pleading with Mexicans living legally and illegally in the United States to return to Mexico "to promote growth of our great nation and to work together to construct a better future for our country."

Bush is right to observe that the illegal immigration problem "is an incredibly complex issue" and will take time to resolve.

Resolutions to illegal immigration and other problems can take place only if the leadership of both countries is committed to finding appropriate solutions. Seeing that commitment is the most heartening aspect of Fox's visit to Washington.

Both presidents have a genuine respect for each other and are determined to work together to resolve problems that have divided the United States and Mexico for far too many years.

Their respective governments need to support them in this most worthwhile endeavor.