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#388935 - 10/01/10 02:21 PM US Asst. Sec’y Of State Visits
Marty Offline
Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State for Central America and the Caribbean Julissa Reynoso is on a two day visit to Belize. She held a press briefing at the US Ambassador's residence in Belmopan this morning where she said most of the discussions in Belize and throughout the region have been about crime and the input of the United States with its 95 million dollar Central American Security Initiative - known as CARSI.

Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State for Central America and the Caribbean
"We have a very good relationship with the government here like anything else good relationships could always be better. And it's also really execution and making things happen and that's something that we are really trying roll out especially in the context in the Central America region especially with respect with the security issue that keeps coming up."

"You are living in a situation from my understanding that you are feeling the situation is getting worse and that's something that is not unique to Belize but it's really a pattern throughout Central America and the Caribbean, but Central America in particular. We have taken that message very seriously and we have increased assistance to the region over the last several years to try to prevent things from getting worse. CARSI initiative, We are putting funds, we are investing our time and efforts and ideas, we also expect similar return from the country we are engaging with in Central America including Belize."

"Belize has not been ignored. Belize is an integral part of CARSI, we have contributed significantly to Belize security matters from 3 to 2 million dollars a year which is a lot of assistance in our mind."

"Generally we have had a good relationship with Belize in terms of the funds we have allocated thus far. We think that we can do better at coordinating between the countries and the countries can do better coordinating amongst themselves. Between Belize and Mexico; Belize and Guatemala; Belize and Honduras. So it's not just the US bilaterally plugging in projects and programs and funds its also the countries in the region taking ownership of this issue. There is not enough money in the world to deal with this, what we do need is what is there is human beings who are willing to engage this issue and help combat it, and that goes from the Prime Minister to all you here to some grandma in the corner, that's the way these things get defeated. It's not just send hardware, helicopters and police to the scene."

Partick Jones, Reporter
"How can United assist in settling this unfounded claim to our country?"

Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State for Central America and the Caribbean
"The recommendation that I believe that has come forth by the OAS is that both country should go forth and present their evidence and arguments before the ICJ, to us, seems like a legitimate and proper way to proceeding given the fact that there has been so many years of attempts of resolving this and there hasn't been a full comprehensive resolution. I think the ICJ is the most appropriate venue to deal with it. we would support the decision of the ICJ and hopefully attempt to implement it."

Partick Jones, Reporter
"What would you say so far as it pertains to offshore drilling?"

Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State for Central America and the Caribbean
"Be careful! (Laughs) That's the message. Countries engage in oil drilling. Look at the US as an example of how things go, people can make mistakes."

Reynosso comes to Belize from a stop in Costa Rica and says that she has been to every country in the region and Belize was her last stop. She is here until tomorrow and will be visiting with the Foreign Minister and other senior government officials.

Channel 7


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#388936 - 10/01/10 02:22 PM Re: US Asst. Sec’y Of State Visits [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

U.S. Dep. Asst. Secretary of State discusses regional security issues

Julissa Reynoso

The United States Deputy Assistant Secretary State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julissa Reynoso has been meeting with different government officials over the past few days. Reynoso’s portfolio covers Central America and the Caribbean. Reynoso, an attorney by trade, is expected to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs before her departure o Friday. Her visit covers a range of issues under the Central American Regional Security Initiative. During a session this morning at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in the Capital, Reynoso fielded questions about everything, from narco-trafficking to the long standing border dispute with Guatemala.

Julissa Reynoso, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, U.S.

“The U.S. as a member of the O.A.S. has played a role in facilitating dialog and attempting to come to some resolution that is equitable in that it will satisfy both countries. My understanding is that the OAS has been facilitating at the border concrete efforts to deal with dispute resolution and that has been fruitful. In fact, we met with several members of the specific commission that deals with that on the Belize/Guatemala border. The recommendation that I believe has come forth by the O.A.S. that both countries should go forth and present their arguments to the I.C.J. it seems like a legitimate and proper way of proceeding given that there has been so many years of attempts of resolving this and there hasn’t been a full comprehensive resolution. I think the I.C.J. is the appropriate venue to deal with it. We will support the decision of the ICJ and hopefully help attempt to implement it.”

“Be careful. That’s the message. Frankly we have—part of it is really engaging with these corporations so that they are aware that they are going to be held fully responsible for any negligent acts on their part. It’s really setting up regulations and norms of transparency. We are learning from those mistakes. We internally are figuring out how we can do this better because obviously what we did before wasn’t sufficient. Countries that are engaging in new drilling should look at the U.S. as an example of how things, how well intended people can make mistakes. I know there is drilling happening now. The Cubans are also looking at drilling and we are keen to share information with Cuba and Belize if it matters to you all as well.”

“In terms of diplomacy and the engagement with Jamaica to try and facilitate and make it happen and provide the guidance and the logic for why the actual extradition of Mister Coke was in Jamaica’s best interests was handled by the state department and my office. Here in Belize in particular, as you all know, we have been engaging with Belize and Central America in the last several years in trying to create new institution or improve the existing institutions so that crime becomes much more contained. You are living a situation where you are feeling the situation is getting worse and that is something that is not unique to Belize but is really a pattern throughout Central America and the Caribbean, but Central American in particular. We have taken that message very seriously and we have increased assistance to the region over the last several years to try to prevent things from getting worse. We are very aware that if there is a significant success in Mexico, it’s not an absolute win because these individuals can then move from Mexico to Central America or the Caribbean. So we got to capture them, we got to detain them; we got to contain their movement throughout the region. So we just can’t just be working at Mexico and stop it there or in Colombia and stop it there—it has to be a holistic approach to tackling this problem. So that’s what CARSI is—we are dealing with the security issues in Central America because Central America has particular forms of insecurity—they are different Mexico and Colombia. However, the pattern has been that when you have real results in one part of the chain, the other parts of the chain are affected. These individuals create a different route—you try to stop them at the border with Panama, they will take a plane and go through Honduras. So that’s how we have to manage it. It’s a regional approach—going from the Caribbean, to Mexico, Central America and Colombia.”

In a release sent this afternoon, the U.S. Embassy has awarded a grant for the Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI), which is a two-year program to be implemented in Belize by the American Bar Association (A.B.A.). The U.S. Department of State awarded a grant totaling U.S. $916,000 to the A.B.A. in order to support the Belizean justice sector institutions to more efficiently and effectively manage cases related to narcotics and transnational crime. We’ll have more on Reynoso’s visit on tomorrow night’s newscast.

Channel 5


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