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#449491 - 10/23/12 07:53 AM OAS Secretary General to Visit Belize
Marty Offline
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, José Miguel Insulza, will make a working visit to Belize on Tuesday, October 23, where he will meet with the country’s Prime Minister, Dean Oliver Barrow.

The leader of the hemispheric organization will also hold meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar and the leader of the opposition, Francis Fonseca, among other authorities.

The Secretary General will travel to Belize following his participation on Monday, October 22, in Guatemala City in a meeting of the Group of Friends of the General Secretariat for Belize-Guatemala.

#449593 - 10/24/12 08:16 AM Re: OAS Secretary General to Visit Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

OAS Secretary General Insulza In Belize

Yesterday, Foreign Ministers from Belize and Guatemala joined the Secretary General of the OAS in Guatemala City to meet with the International Group of Friends.

Those are the friendly nations who want Belize and Guatemala to settle their territorial dispute at the International Court of Justice and are willing to help fund the effort.

That means partially paying for the referendum and the education campaigns in both countries. The meeting was considered a success - and Insulza came to Belize right after to meet with the Prime Minister, the National Security Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Today at a 12 minute press briefing at the airport - he said he came to Belize right after so no one would think the OAS is playing favourites with Guatemala:..

Jose Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General
"With the adjacency zone and the possibility of find a solution to the issue of the International Court of Justice. The reason for me to come here immediately after was precisely to erase any doubt that there could be some kind of different treatment."

So how much will the referendum and public education process cost? Today's Amandala reports that it is 50.5 million US Dollars between both countries.

Amandala reports that Guatemala has budgeted $32 million US for referendum day, which they will pay but are asking for international assistance of $14 million US dollars for a public campaign.

Belize's budget is only $4.5 million US dollars for both the public education and referendum processes - and this country is also asking for partial assistance with those funds.

Today Insulza did not want to discuss figures, but says international support is forthcoming:..

Jose Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General
"The two countries have presented their cost that they are going to have for this. Of course it's probably a larger for Guatemala than for Belize, so I think that it's reasonable to know that - I think that the cost will be covered partly by the international community. We have conversations with a couple of countries' organizations that already said that they are going to support the process. When they announce, we will announce it too."

And yesterday, apart from meting the Group of Friends, Belize, Guatemala and the OAS also had border issues to discuss. Here's what Insulza had to say about it:..

Jose Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General
"I think that it's very clear that we do have a problem in a certain part of - I will say the adjacency zone because sometimes it goes beyond the adjacency zone for people that cross over into Belize for different reasons and that has had a couple of difficulties this year, but I will say in general there is a good will in trying to avoid these incidents and to avoid any more casualties on the matter."

And in probably the most newsworthy part of today's event, Insulza flatly denied the report that the family of Francisco Qunn Yat would get any payment from the OAS Peace fund.

That's what we reported last week - on official word from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But Insulza said it is not so:..

Jose Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General
"We have never given compensation to anybody. If somebody wants a compensation for something, you should always go to a commissioner of human rights who will deal with the matter when it comes to all that. The OAS - I don't know where they got that - we have not given compensation to anybody. That's a mistake in your question."

"So, the OAS will not award compensation?"

Jose Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General
"We never do, not in Belize nor Guatemala, not anywhere. We don't do that."

"Will there be any allocation at all from the peace fund to support the family regarding this?"

Jose Miguel Insulza, OAS Secretary General
"Not unless the countries agreed on that which is something I don't want to discuss. We don't have budgeted money for any kind of compensations. Where do you get these things? I am certainly saying this is not true, definitely not true."

So where did we get the idea? Well, no less than the CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado! He told us so himself on the phone last week - and said much the same on the UDP show, the Real Deal. Here are those remarks from last week Thursday:..

Alexis Rosado, CEO Ministry of Foreign Affairs
"The OAS is offering to do something that is tangible that can assist the family and other countries are willing to assist in the contribution to the peace fund. It's not a case that Belize is going to - the family of this person. We are contributing to the OAS and the OAS will do as it sees fit to determine how they will help the family."

Host - Real Deal show
"Are we saying that it is the OAS using the peace fund that will make as you put it a grant to assist the family in some form and it is not the government of Belize giving money to the family?"

Alexis Rosado, CEO Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Host - Real Deal show
"That is not the case?"

Alexis Rosado, CEO Ministry of Foreign Affairs

We spoke to CEO Rosado today who said that Insulza was right to deny that any "compensation" is being paid to the family of Francisco Quinn Yat. He says the fund does make humanitarian grants which is what the payment to Yat's family will be.

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