Mexican President Felipe Calderon will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington next week amid friction over leaked diplomatic documents that criticized Mexico's anti-narcotics strategy.
Calderon accepted an invitation from Obama to discuss issues of common interest, the Mexican president's office said in a statement Wednesday. The meeting, to be held at the White House on March 3, will be their fifth since January 2009.
Calderon also will meet with U.S. Rep. John Boehner, the Ohio Republican who assumed leadership of the House of Representatives, and with U.S. business leaders.
In a newspaper interview published Tuesday, Calderon said U.S.-Mexico relations were strained after the WikiLeaks website released the cables.
Calderon specifically cited one written by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual that says there is little coordination among Mexican federal agencies assigned to battle drug gangs, including Mexico's army, navy and federal police.
The Mexican president said in the interview with El Universal that the cables show U.S. diplomats are ignorant about Mexico's security situation and are prone to distort and exaggerate "to get their bosses' attention."
Calderon said the U.S. government should help Mexico's fight against drug gangs by reducing drug use in the United States, the biggest consumer of illegal drugs in the world, and by stemming the flow of automatic rifles to the cartels. The Mexican government often makes that demand.
Calderon also said that while he has found a solid partner in Obama, "institutional cooperation ends up being notoriously insufficient" between the two countries.
The comment is surprising because U.S. and Mexican officials have constantly said the two countries have reached an unprecedented level of cooperation in the drug war. Washington backs Mexico's fight against drug cartels with millions of dollars in equipment and training.
Calderon's office said the meeting with Obama had been in the works for weeks and had nothing to do with any particular incident. Calderon and Obama have already spoken by phone about the leaked documents.