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Foreign Ministers from 31 nations began a meeting that included all the members of Group of Rio and the Caribbean Community, apart from St. Vincent, in Playa del Carmen on Saturday.

The meeting, opened by Mexico's foreign minister, Patricia Espinosa, is the first formal event in a four-day meeting billed as the Unity Summit.

The Summit expected to produce a new organization, whose name has not yet been decided.

In her opening speech to the ministers, which was attended by the media, Espinosa described the summit as "a collective achievement by a region that is ever more united and strong."

She said the goal of united organization was first mooted during December 2008's Latin American and Caribbean Summit, held in Salvador de Bahia in Brazil.

"A year ago in Brazil we decided that the Group of Rio and the Caribbean Latin America Summit should have the same meeting and agenda," Espinosa said. "We have now agreed a common agenda. This shared space will allow us to overcome obstacles of earlier times. With full respect for the diversity of the region ,we are ready to move forward."

Mexico's Foreign Ministry said that 26 of the 32 heads of state invited have confirmed their attendance for the Summit. Those who did not do so included Peru, St. Vincent, Guyana, St. Lucia, Surinam and the Bahamas.


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