Posted: Thursday, September 7, 2023. 10:56 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: As its three-day visit to Belize wrapped up this morning in Belmopan, a high-level delegation representing multiple offices and aspects of the strong relationship between Belize and the United States discussed avenues of further cooperation between the countries with the press following its meetings with Government and other officials.
As the highest-ranking member of the delegation, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs Daniel Erikson noted, such a gathering is rare, but the timing came together fortuitously: “We think it’s a great opportunity currently to work with the Government. We note the number of accomplishments that they have had to date, and so we really want to build on that and bring together the different aspects of the U.S. Government to do that including the Department of Defense, USAID, the State Department with the leadership of the Vice-President’s Office. We think that the most important thing the United States can do in this region is to have a positive agenda working with our partners in the region.”
The U.S., he added, recognizes and supports Belize’s diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan), such ties becoming increasingly important for the latter as it seeks to hold off Mainland China’s claim to its territory.
Among the topics up for discussion are combating climate change, economic development, and especially migration. Belize is a member of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and the Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030).
Concerning migration in particular, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Mileydi Guilarte, announced a further grant of US$600,000 for the Belize office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to continue supporting work with migrants countrywide: “Providing legal status is crucially important, but needs goes beyond. The support will continue to help migrants to integrate [into] host communities, access healthcare, enroll their children in school, and learn English as a second language. Giving migrants the opportunities and tools to build livelihoods in their new communities benefits the entire region.”
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