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Guatemala does not constitute and will never constitute a threat to Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:00

pm and molina.jpg - 50.62 KbThe occasion of the 44th Summit of the Central American Integration System (SICA) held in Placencia served up the perfect opportunity for a historic meeting between the President of Guatemala and the Prime Minister of Belize.  Hon. Dean Barrow presided over the Summit as he ended Belize’s six-month pro-tempore presidency of SICA and handed over the reigns to the President of Guatemala, H. E. Otto Fernando Perez Molina. 

Before the Summit, Prime Minister Barrow greeted President Molina at the Riversdale Airstrip in Placencia after which they made their way to The Placencia Hotel for a breakfast meeting to discuss Belize Guatemala relations and the thirteen agreements that both countries had been negotiating and ready to sign at the end of the SICA Summit, signaling a renewed commitment to strengthen relations between the two countries.  The thirteen agreements between Belize and Guatemala establish formally and for the first time functional cooperation programmes that are practical and progressive.   In their implementation they will bring tangible and practical benefits to the people of both countries.   The two governments had set out to embark in such cooperative programmes since 2005 but they could not be done until now.  The functional cooperation agreements range from formalizing the serving of penal sentences, to the recognition of educational documents, environmental protection and sustainable use of resources to recovery and return of stolen vehicles. 

In his intervention at the Summit, President Molina expressed that he knows that Guatemala and Belize has had strained relationships at times but “ Guatemala and Belize will be neighbors forever and for this reason we want to live in peace and we’re partners in the development of our populations and its important to understand that Guatemala does not constitute and will never constitute a threat to Belize.”

Hon. Dean Barrow said in his remarks at the signing of the 13 agreements, “How did we get here?  First we got here because both of us desire to live in peace, side by side in friendly neighbourly relations. Second, after decades of unsuccessful negotiations the time had come for us to enhance our cooperation and build confidence between our governments and peoples.   So we agreed to implement the 2005 Agreement on Confidence Building Measures, which had set out a list of cooperation areas to be actioned via the work of the Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission. And the word became flesh, so to speak, after our two Foreign Ministers met at the beginning of this year and formalized the Roadmap’s Work Plan.”

The Heads and Ministers at the Summit applauded both leaders on this commendable step forward.  The President of Panama, His Excellency Carlos Varela Rodriguez, congratulated the Heads of State from Belize and Guatemala on their move today to strengthen relations between the two countries and on the agreements.  President Danilo Medina Sanchez of the Dominican Republic also expressed congratulations to Belize and Guatemala and thanked them for choosing the road of dialogue.  The Minister from Nicaragua reflected the importance of the bilateral agreement between Belize and Guatemala in the holistic sense because it is a contribution to the entire regional integration and the Foreign Minister of El Salvador shared similar sentiments and sees this move as a very positive one towards the integration process of the region.

Hon. Dean Barrow recognized the indispensable role of the Organization of American States (OAS) in helping to make the agreements possible.  As well, he singled out the OAS Special Representative Ambassador Raul Lago and the Head of the Fund for Peace, Magdalena Talamas.  His greatest praises of congratulations were reserved for the two Foreign Ministers and their teams in the Joint Commission.  Prime Minister Barrow stated that “they and their negotiators have managed this process in a most skillful and timely manner and set us firmly on course to enhance relations, increase goodwill, and draw us closer to that day when we confine the claim permanently to the ash heap of history.

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2014 08:52