Foreign Ministers for Belize and Guatemala met for the first time today since the two were duly appointed in their respective countries. Belize’s foreign minister Eamon Courtenay met his Guatemalan counterpart Pedro Brola Vila at the OAS office at the western border. Discussions were fruitful and they weren’t focused on Guatemala’s unfounded claim on Belize. Rather, they focused on efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries. Hipolito Novelo was at the OAS officer today and has the following report.
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Belize and Guatemala have resumed talks at a historic and productive meeting today at the Office of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Adjacency Zone. Belize Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay met his Guatemalan counterpart Pedro Brola Vila. This is the first meeting between the two foreign ministers since they assumed their post. Courtenay and Brola shared updates in the efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between Belize and Guatemala.
Alexis Rosado, Ambassador to Belgium, EU, and the OACPS: “And agreed to reactivate the Belize Guatemala joint commission with a view to enhancing trade between Belize and Guatemala Minister Courtenay and Minister Brola reviewed the implementation of the Belize Guatemala partial scope trade agreement . They reiterated their commitment to the PSA and its potential to increase trade and economic growth and development. They underscored the need to revitalize the administrative institutions of the PSA to ensure that the agreement functions in the most efficient and effective manner. Minister Courtenay and Minister Brola reaffirmed the importance of adherence to the 2005 agreement on a framework for negotiations and confidence building measures.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: According to Minister Courtenay, the meeting was constructive and successful. He says that the government will defend its territory and sovereignty to the maximum allowed.
Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Minister of Belize: “Belize and Guatemala are neighbors and as far as Prime Minister Briceno’s government is concerned we have to live as neighbors. There are challenges that we have got to address and we seek to address them in a peaceful manner and in a manner that respects our territory and respects Guatemala’s territory, that respects the international law. We believe that the tone set by the meeting just now is going to lead to a constructive, and I expect, a basis on which we can resolve issues within the OAS process to the satisfaction of both countries but all I will say, as I will expect Minister Brolo to say, we propose to defend our territory and our sovereignty to the maximum allowed but the emphasis is on good neighborliness and peaceful resolution of any issue.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: And some of those issues are the illegal encroachment into the Chiquibul forest, the raping of our pristine forest, and the poaching of wildlife- all caused by Guatemalan peasants living along the border. Minister Brolo says issues must be addressed responsibly.
Pedro Brolo Vila, Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs: “We are neighbor countries and we are friends so we must solve them in a peaceful manner and we need to solidify them. The challenges that we are facing we also have to thank the OAS for everything that they are doing but we are also wanting to strengthen these measures and we have asked the secretary general to accompany us in this.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: The ministers reaffirmed the importance and adherence of both countries to the Confidence Building Measures Agreement signed in 2005.