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Rio Group committed to “revitalization” and less summits

Sunday, March 4th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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The Rio Group will be revitalized with fewer summits and more action in the form of mutual consultations aimed at reacting quickly to international crises, the presidents of the regional association agreed Saturday in Guyana.

Future summits of the Rio Group will be held every two years, supplemented by annual foreign ministers' meetings and a system of consultations that will begin immediately. In the absence of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, the presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Chile were the centers of attention at the summit, together with Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, as the heavyweights of the Rio Group. President Calderón gave a sign of his commitment to the Rio Group with his presence and his willingness to play a more active role in Latin American politics. Calderón pledged that he would maintain "constructive relations" with all countries of Latin America, "including Cuba and Venezuela" and mentioned the "respectful" attitude of the Venezuelan delegation during the multilateral meeting. We are "convinced of the need to strengthen the Rio Group through concrete actions," said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, after meeting with her colleague from Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and with President Felipe Calderón, together with Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa. Bachelet referred to the four countries' intention "to keep a political dialogue open" among all nations of the region and underscored the importance of work groups making progress in such areas as "energy, infrastructure and the social sphere," as well as working against the effects of climate change. The defense of democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean will continue to be the Rio Group's prime objective, but steps will be taken to increase its capability for taking action in other areas, from the launching of new energy plans to the fight against poverty. The presidents of Rio Group nations also announced that Mexico will host the organization's next summit. Mexico will complete the Rio Group's "Troika" together with Guyana and the Dominican Republic. Guyana hosted this weekend summit and on Saturday evening turned over the leadership post to the Dominican Republic. Mexico will act as secretary pro tem of the group. The Dominican Republic will host the group next meeting, but it will be limited to foreign ministers and other government officials. This will likely take place later this year or in 2008. Mexico will host the summit at which presidents will participate.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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