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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 7, 1997


              Presidential Travel to Mexico, the Caribbean
                     and Central and South America

The President will travel to Mexico from April 11-12 and to the Caribbean and Central and South America from May 6-13. The May trip will include stops in Barbados, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina. Prime Minister Arthur of Barbados and President Figueres of Costa Rica have agreed to host half-day meetings with other regional leaders.

By traveling first to Mexico, the President will highlight Mexico's role as our third largest trading partner and its ongoing economic recovery, as reflected by its successful repayment of the U.S. loan package three years ahead of schedule. The President's visit to Mexico will also focus on our increasingly close partnership on issues of counter-drug cooperation, law enforcement, migration and the environment.

The President's travel will advance initiatives launched at the Miami Summit of the Americas and will demonstrate the Administration's ongoing commitment to building a hemispheric community of free market democracies. Following on the February 26 State Visit by Chile's President Frei, the President's trips will help set the stage for the second hemispheric Summit, to be held March 1998 in Santiago.

The President has asked Mack McLarty, his Counselor and Special Envoy for the Americas, to coordinate the efforts of the various U.S. agencies engaged in preparing for these trips.

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