Persons of Salvadorean descent and origin make up a fair percentage of Belize's population. So today's important visit to Belize by Salvador's Foreign Minister, His Excellency Hugo Roger Martinez Bonilla, is being hailed as a milestone in cementing bilateral relations between the two countries. Indeed, it is the first time that a Foreign Minister from El Salvador has made an official visit to Belize. Belize's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Wilfred Elrington says 'great things are expected to come out of the joint communiquï¿½ signed today by both countries', whilst alluding to the large Salvadoran diaspora living in Belize.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Since I became Foreign Minister, I have been insisting that we get a visit from the Foreign Minister of El Salvador, so that he could come and see the hospitality that we've extended to the Salvadorans and the condition in which they are living. And, I also had at the back of my mind the hope that once he came and saw what was on the ground, he would be influenced to cause more funds to be directed toward the Salvadoran Community, in particular, so that they can become more productive, more skilled, more educated, and more informed because by so becoming, they would in fact enhance our country even more. We can tell you the news has been good; We've arrived at agreements in principle which should see resources, more assistance, coming from El Salvador to Salvadorans in the Belizean Diaspora, those living here in Belize, by extension for the Belizean Community - the wider Belizean Community."
H. E. Hugo Martinez-Bonilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs El Salvador
"This is an opportuned time to relaunch and strengthen our relationship, not only our official bilateral relationship that is important to cultivate, but our relationship with Salvadoran Community. A community that has lived in Belize, and had been received with open arms during those difficult moments in our history. A large part of the Salvadoran Community here has had to leave because of the civil war that took place in our country. we are extremely grateful to the people and Government of Belize who have welcomed our citizens, and allowed them to integrate with into the different productive sectors of your country."
The communiquï¿½ outlined ways in which the two countries can enhance trade and investment, whilst negotiating a Partial Scope Agreement that will take into consideration the difference in size between the economies of Belize and El Salvador. The ministers also discussed important regional and international issues. Bonilla also met with the Prime Minister. Bonilla concludes his visit tomorrow.