BELIZE CITY, Wed. June 2, 2021– Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño is on his first official visit to Guatemala after accepting an invitation from that country’s president, H.E. Alejandro Giammattei Falla. He arrived on Tuesday, June 1.
This bout of diplomatic talks has commenced while the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute lies before the International Court of Justice. The two countries have begun to strengthen diplomatic relations — with one notable part of that effort being the reconstitution of the Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission, which held its first meeting since its reactivation on May 18 in Belize City.
“While Guatemala’s claim is before the International Court of Justice, the two Heads reiterated their commitment to further strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation between Belize and Guatemala,” stated a joint release issued in Guatemala City by the two leaders.
The two leaders spoke on various topics, inclusive of trade and cooperation, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as issues of security and migration.
In regards to the impact of the pandemic, the joint release mentioned that the leaders discussed the economic challenges they face as a result of the virus and the severe strain placed on their countries’ health and social sectors, and they also reemphasized the need for equitable distribution of the vaccines.
“They reiterated the urgent need for equitable and affordable access to vaccines so that a sustainable path to recovery could earnestly begin,” the release said.
During the meeting, the leaders directed officials to reactivate the institutional framework of the Partial Scope Trade Agreement, “with a view to improving its implementation and advancing its expansion.”
Additionally, the leaders committed to the implementation of all 13 bilateral cooperation agreements under the Joint Commission and directed the body to explore projects between the two countries that are geared at strengthening friendship and cooperation.
In speaking about security, the leaders looked at the threat of transnational crime and its impact on the quality of life of citizens and also the prospects for overall peace in the region. They ordered that a high-level security group be established under the auspices of the 2005 Framework for Negotiations and Confidence-Building Measures.
The leaders also talked about the pressing issue of migration and emphasized the importance of taking a regional approach to addressing the issues.
Prime Minister Briceño also congratulated President Giammattei on his forthcoming assumption of the Presidency Pro Tempore of the Central American Integration System and pledged Belize’s support.
During his remarks the PM said, “At the end of the day for this to be successful, you have to have that desire as a person and that it comes from the heart to make sure that this can work and if the functionaries see that we at the political level are willing to see that it works, they will also play their part.”
This meeting between Hon. Briceño and H.E. Giammattei is a follow-up to the dialogue between the men that started during the Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting in early March at the OAS Adjacency Zone office.
The release and President Giammattei stated that the meeting “constitutes a historical event for the bilateral relationship that endorses the high priority that both Peoples and Governments [of Guatemala and Belize] give each other.”
The Prime Minister is expected to return to Belize tomorrow, June 3, 2021.