Obama vows better cooperation with Central American nations

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- President Barack Obama vowed closer cooperation Tuesday with the Central American nations where U.S. policies on crime, immigration and other issues have outsize influence on populations that depend heavily on their giant neighbor to the north and impact U.S. society in turn.

Speaking in El Salvador, the final stop on his three-country Latin American tour and the only one in Central America, Obama promised work on increasing trade and economic growth, fighting drug trafficking and creating opportunities so that people can find opportunity in their home countries and "don't feel like they have to head north to provide for their families."

"The United States will do our part" in combatting the increasing scourge of drug trafficking, the president said, standing next to El Salvador's president Mauricio Funes, who welcomed Obama's attention to the oft-overlooked region. Obama announced a new $200 million partnership with El Salvador to combat drug wars that have led to a spike in murders here and in other Central American countries.

Yet Obama's five-day visit to Latin America has been overshadowed from the start by the war he's running in faraway Libya, and just before the news conference started the White House said Obama would be cutting his visit short to return earlier to the U.S. today.

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