Obama to host Mexico's president-elect Pena Nieto

WASHINGTON Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:17pm GMT

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WASHINGTON Nov 19 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will host Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto next week, the White House said on Monday.

Obama plans to discuss a broad range of issues during an Oval Office meeting on Nov. 27, it said in a statement.

"The president welcomes the opportunity to underscore the shared values and strong bonds of friendship between the United States and Mexico," the White House said.

Pena Nieto will bring Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party back to power after 12 years on the sidelines when he takes office Dec. 1. He has pledged to push for major economic reforms, including overhauls of energy and tax laws.

The two are likely to discuss anti-drug policies, as Latin American countries have begun to question the effectiveness of the four-decade U.S. war on drugs.

Mexico, given its size, proximity to the United States, and status as a prime battleground for drug-related violence, will play a key role in that debate.

Trade is also a likely agenda item, as the Obama administration seeks to expand business opportunities for U.S. firms in Mexico and the region.

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