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Belize’s Foreign Minister returns from Migration Summit in Guatemala

HighlightsBelize’s Foreign Minister returns from Migration Summit in Guatemala

Photo: Foreign Ministers of signatory countries

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. May 9, 2024

Hon. Francis Fonseca, Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, has returned from Guatemala after participating in the Third Ministerial Meeting of the “Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection” on May 7.

The summit convened foreign ministers and senior officials from 20 signatory countries, including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and several Central and South American nations.

During the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken led the American delegation, which also included key figures like the White House coordinator for the Los Angeles Declaration, Marcela Escobari, and Kristie Canegallo, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Photo: Third Ministerial Meeting of the “Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection”

Secretary Blinken announced a commitment of $578 million in assistance aimed at humanitarian needs, legal migration pathways, and enhanced law enforcement cooperation to tackle irregular migration and smuggling networks.

The participating countries reviewed progress on their commitments under the declaration, and launched new initiatives focusing on strengthening law enforcement, expanding legal migration avenues, and supporting migrant integration for long-term stabilization.

In addition to the conference, Minister Fonseca engaged in several bilateral discussions. He met with Eric Jacobstein, Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State, to reaffirm the strong partnership between Belize and the United States, covering issues such as migration, trade, and the situation in Haiti.

His talks with Acting US Deputy Secretary Canegallo focused on security concerns and irregular migration patterns. Minister Fonseca also updated U.S. officials on the ongoing Guatemalan claim at the International Court of Justice and other national matters.

Additionally, Minister Fonseca met with Guatemalan counterpart, Carlos Ramiro Martinez, where they agreed to enhance neighborly relations and cooperation on border challenges, security, trade expansion, and the Central American Integration System (SICA). They also discussed reactivating the Joint Commission to implement the “Placencia Agreements” of December 2014.

Wearing his dual hat as Minister of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology, Fonseca also met with Belizean students at the Belize Embassy in Guatemala City.

Minister Fonseca’s productive visit concluded on May 8.

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