The Rio Group of Latinamerican countries created in the eighties to help pacify and stabilize Central America and which had lately fallen into obscurity, could play a crucial role in the Colombia-Ecuador-Venezuela conflict when it meets this week in Santo Domingo.
The presidential summit that had an original agenda that included climatic change, energy, immigration, development and other regional topics is expected to address the heightened tensions between the three countries following on Colombia's incursion into Ecuador to catch (and kill) the number 2 commander of the FARC guerrilla movement, Raul Reyes. Ecuador and Venezuela replicated cutting diplomatic relations with Bogota and concentrating troops along the common border, besides launching a barrage of insults to Colombian president Alvaro Uribe. Colombia is accusing Ecuador and Venezuela of collusion with FARC. Dominican Republic Foreign Affairs minister Carlos Morales said 10 of the 19 heads of State of the Rio Group member countries had confirmed their participation. One of the announced presidents is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner since Argentina will be hosting the Rio Group summit in 2010. Before arriving in Santo Domingo, Mrs. Kirchner will be calling in Venezuela where she's expected to sign several agreements particularly the exchange of energy for food. Rio Group working staff is scheduled to arrive in Santo Domingo Tuesday, on Thursday Foreign Affairs ministers and Friday the presidents. Dominican Deputy Foreign Secretary Jose Manuel Trullol said that the meeting will end with a "Santo Domingo Declaration" and that Rio Group discussions work on consensus, "there are no individual positions". The original Rio Group dates back to December 1986 with the "Declaration of Rio de Janeiro" subscribed by Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.