Rio Group approves expansion, changes name

11:27, February 24, 2010      

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Chilian President Michelle Bachelet (C) speaks at the closing session of the summit meeting of the Group of Rio and Caribbean Community (Caricom) in Playa del Carmen, a resort town on Mexico's Caribbean coast, on Feb. 23, 2010. Mexico's President Felipe Calderon handed over the two-year presidency of the expanded Group of Rio to Chile at the end of the organization's two-day summit on Tuesday in Playa del Carmen. Earlier on Tuesday, the group had agreed to expand to include the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom). (Xinhua/Joaquin Morelli)

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon announced on Tuesday at the Group of Rio Summit that a new body to represent both the Group of Rio and the Caribbean Community had been formed on Tuesday in Playa del Carmen, a resort town on Mexico's Caribbean coast.

He said that the provisional name for the body would be the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELC), but that this might change at future meetings.

"We have reached a consensus but we have not decided on a name, " Calderon told presidents assembled for the second day of the Summit, which included heads of state from both the 24-nation Group of Rio and the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom).

"We have decided to create an organization CELC that includes all the organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean," Calderon said. "We have decided to base an organization on shared values including sovereignty and the non-use of force, including threats of force, international cooperation, ever closer integration of Latin America and the Caribbean and permanent political dialogue," he added.

The next meeting of the organization, where the name will be decided, will be in Venezuela next year. The normal functions of the Group of Rio and the Latin American and Caribbean Congress will continue until the new organization's institutions are completely formed, he added.


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