Foreign Affairs Minister Addresses Past and Future Diplomatic Works

Foreign Affairs Minister Addresses Past and Future Diplomatic Works

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Francis Fonseca took an estimated hour and a half for his address at the budget debate on Monday where he spoke on the past, current and upcoming works across the country. Fonseca took over the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Portfolio from Eamon Courtenay in January. Since then, he has represented the country at several regional events. Fonseca spoke about the diplomatic relationships that have been established. 

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Belize’s diplomatic profile remains high and is well regarded globally. Over the last year Belize has established new diplomatic relationships, developed new strong cooperation programs with large developing countries, demonstrated leadership on several issues including migration, climate change and oceans. Belize has taken bold and principled positions on some of the most difficult issues, including the situation in Haiti, and notably the Israeli war against Hamas. Belize interacts in an international environment that has become more complex due to the ongoing conflicts and potential emerging conflicts. Regionally, there are some tensions between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, political and security situations in the Republic of Nicaragua and Ecuador, as well as political and social upheaval in Haiti, among others. Internationally we continue to be confronted with the Russia-Ukraine conflict in its second year, the Israeli-Hamas conflict and then conflicts across the continent of Africa and simmering tensions throughout the Middle East and South China Sea. We continue to grapple with the negative effects of climate change and for us countries like Belize located in the hurricane belt the threat of more frequent and stronger hurricanes. Madam Speaker, Belize’s foreign policy remains principled, pragmatic and focused on advancing our national objectives including sustainable economic and social development, human and national security, trade and tourism, environmental sustainability, and the preservation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are steadfast in our foreign policy principles of the right to self-determination, national sovereignty and territorial integrity and the peaceful settlement of disputes. We have taken principled positions condemning the illegal aggression by Russia against Ukraine and on the indiscriminate aggression against civilians in the Gaza Strip. In both instances, we have called for an immediate ceasefire and removal of all military equipment and personnel from Ukraine and Gaza. We have also condemned the killing and kidnapping of Israeli citizens by Hamas. We continue to call for an end to the unilateral coercive measures and sanctions imposed by the United States on Cuba and Venezuela and an end to the economic, financial and commercial embargo on Cuba as well as the removal of Cuba from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.”

Fonseca added that through the diplomatic outreach, Belize’s diplomatic presence in South America has greatly increased. 

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “We are expanding our diplomatic outreach and over the past 12 months have established diplomatic relations with three African nations, the Republic of Benin, the Republic of Gambia, and the Republic of Cape Verde. One European nation, the Republic of Uzbekistan, and one Melanesian nation, the Solomon Islands. This past December we established a high commission in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to deepen relations with that country. Notably, this is the first time in our history that we have diplomatic presence in South America and we look forward to utilizing this mission as a pivot launch pad into other countries in the region. To improve access to consular services, for Belizeans in the diaspora, a consular office was opened at our permanent mission in New York in September of 2023. Through use of the new application electronic passport issuance and electronic an control system EPICS across all consulates in the United States of America, Belizeans now have access to more efficient and timely consular services.”

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