MEXICO CITY - US President Barack Obama told the Mexican people on Friday that he sees a "new Mexico" emerging, with a deepening democracy and growing economy, and that Mexico and the United States should be viewed as equal partners.
"I have come to Mexico because it is time to put old mindsets aside," Obama said in a speech to university students. "It's time to recognize new realities, including the impressive progress in today's Mexico."
Obama tried out a little Spanish on his audience, saying "Es un placer estar entre amigos" (It is a pleasure to be among friends) and struck a deferential tone in speaking about the United States' southern neighbor.
Drug-fueled violence in Mexico is not entirely the fault of the Mexican people, he said. Instead, the United States shares the blame because much of the violence is centered around the Americans' demand for illegal drugs and the fact that guns are smuggled into Mexico from the United States.
"In this relationship there is no senior partner or junior partner. We are two equal partners, two sovereign nations that must work together in mutual interest and mutual respect," Obama said.