Mexican President Felipe Calderon told the U.S. Congress Thursday that the fight against narcotics traffickers along the border can only succeed if the United States reduces its demand for illegal drugs.


Mexico's President Felipe Calderon addresses a joint meeting of Congress as U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look on in Washington on Thursday. ((Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) )

In the first address to Congress by a foreign national leader this year, Calderon delivered a message that the two countries must co-operate to improve security along the often-violent border and to control the flow of immigrants into the U.S.

He said the United States must stop the flow of assault weapons and other arms into Mexico. He found an ally at the White House. President Barack Obama is pressing lawmakers to take up legislation that would deal with border security, employment and citizenship.

Calderon faces a harder sell in Congress, where many are leery of taking up the sensitive issue of immigration in an election year.   

He arrived on a state visit on Wednesday. Obama welcomed him to the White House by pledging co-operation on immigration and battling a violent drug war and economic struggles.