Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration of Belize, and H.E. Pedro Brolo Vila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guatemala, met today at the Office of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Adjacency Zone. It was the first meeting between the two foreign ministers since they assumed their respective posts.
The two foreign ministers exchanged updates in the efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between Belize and Guatemala and agreed to reactivate the Belize-Guatemala Joint Commission.
With a view of enhancing trade between Belize and Guatemala, Minister Courtenay and Minister Brolo reviewed the implementation of the Belize Guatemala Partial Scope Trade Agreement (PSA). The ministers 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 Brolo reaffirmed the importance of adherence to the 2005 Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures.
The two ministers thanked the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone for hosting their bilateral meeting. They also commended the OAS for the crucial role it plays in maintaining peace and respect of human rights of the people along the Adjacency Zone.
Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Through all those challenges which continue even to today, our countries were able to work together to preserve trade, to facilitate the movement of people for urgent medical care, to collaborate on the repatriation of our respective nationals and to cooperate in the area of health. What we have been able to do together in difficult and unusual circumstances gives me confidence that we have the willingness and readiness to work together. Our fate as neighbors is ordained by geography, therefore we have a duty to promote friendly and good neighborly relations and to forge a robust partnership for development.”
Pedro Brolo Vila, Guatemalan Foreign Minister: “We are neighboring 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 O.A.S. for everything that they are doing, but are also wanting to strengthen these measures and we have asked the Secretary General to accompany us in this.”
Eamon Courtenay: “We have agreed to reactivate the joint commission. We have named Ambassador Amalia Mai as our commissioner. We have also suggested that they should meet as soon as possible and preferably within two months. The commission was not deactivated, I wouldn’t say that. I just believe that it has not been moving aggressively as we would like. What Minister Brolo and I are committed to doing is providing whatever resources are necessary and to have our officials continue to work assiduously and diligently on the issues. In 2014, Belize and Guatemala signed thirteen agreements, four are currently under implementation and it is our instructions to our officials that they must get moving on all. There are some formalities that are required on a few of them, those are going to be completed.”