US OKs Idea Raised in Brazil of Americas Group Without America

US State secretary Condoleezza Rice Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State of the US doesn't believe that the creation of an organization that pools Latin American and Caribbean countries would be a threat to or incompatible with the Organization of American States (OAS).

"The OAS continues being a hemispheric organization where all the parties to the region take part, and I think we have worked hard to strengthen it and it will continue getting stronger," said Rice at a press conference in Washington next to Mexico's Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

OAS was created in 1948, has 35 country members, with the exception of Cuba which was forced out in 1962.

The head of the US diplomacy reacted in this manner to an initiative taken during the recent Unasur (Union of South American Nations) summit held in Brazil, where 33 countries pondered on the creation, beginning 2010, of a hemispheric organization excluding the United States and Canada.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón suggested that the potential organization could be called the Latin American and Caribbean Union.

At the recent summit in Brazil the 33 regional leaders from Latinamerica and the Caribbean also called for the lifting of the US trade embargo on Cuba

"There are a growing number of regional organizations in the world which overlap" said Rice and went on to mention the case of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, APEC. "Nobody is thinking these organizations are excluding," said the Secretary.

"Under no circumstances the (Unasur) initiative can be considered as excluding, rather the strengthening of dialogue opportunities with other regions of the world," said Mexico's Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

"We're certain that a tighter integration will contribute to strengthen the very OAS," added Ms. Espinosa.

The high level ministerial meeting in Washington was motivated by the launching of the so called Merida initiative to combat cross-border drug trafficking and organized crime. US Congress approved US$ 400 million in anti-drug aid to Mexico earlier this year.

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