Bush, Harper meet as leaders summit begins
Calderon cuts Canadian visit short as Hurricane Dean approaches Mexico
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President George W. Bush met privately Monday afternoon, kicking off a two-day leader's summit in Quebec.
Details of the discussion were not released.
Harper and Bush, along withMexican President Felipe Calderon, arrived Monday afternoon at a luxurious log-frame hotel in the small resort town of Montebello, near Ottawa.
High fences and police in riot gear sheltered the leaders fromlarge protests heldoutside the Fairmont Le Château Montebello hotel.
Monday's talks involved one-on-one sessions, with Calderon and Bush meeting privately after the Harper-Bush talk. The three North American leaders were then scheduled to meet for dinner.
On Tuesday, all three will come together for a formal discussion.
Calderon was scheduled to remain in Canada after the summit's official end on Tuesday, but as Hurricane Dean barrelled towards Mexico's Yucatan peninsula Monday night, he decided to cut his stay short.
"Given [the hurricane's] progression and dangerousness, I have decided to return to Mexico soon," Calderon said in Ottawa Monday night. "I'll personally oversee the aid effort in case of a disaster."
Arrangements had been made to allow Calderon to monitor any developments from the storm during the summit.
Bush and Calderon received a warm welcome when they pulled up separately at the Fairmont Le Château Montebello, with clapping staff members lining the front lawn to cheer their arrival.
Bush was greeted with equal enthusiasm when his Air Force One plane touched down earlier Monday at Ottawa's International Airport.
A red carpet was rolled out for Bush's arrival, with dignitaries like Canadian Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean and U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins lined up to welcome the American leader to Canada.
The North American leadersare expected to discuss issues like free trade and border security during their summit.
"I think this meeting is a reaffirmation of the commitment that all three of these countries have to creating a secure and prosperous continent," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters on board Air Force One, as it flew from Washington, D.C.,to Canada.
"I think they're going to go over a number of issues on both the security and the prosperity front, from trade to border security to a host of issues."
Johndroe said he doesn't expect any major announcements out of the meeting, despite reports from the Canadian Press that the leaders might be announcing some sort of new border protocol.
Johndroe also noted that Bush will likely discuss the sovereignty of the Arctic with Harper.
With files from the Canadian Press and Associated Press