Mexico’s Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade was in Belize for a quick visit yesterday. First, he flew by Mexican state helicopter down the Rio Hondo for a visit to the border marker at Aguas Turbias, which is considered to be the intersection of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. He also visited the new Santa Elena border crossing, and then he flew to the PGIA. From there, he shuttled to the Biltmore where he had a lunch meeting with his Belizean counterpart Wilfred Elrington. After that they had a joint press conference where Minister Elrington said it is a visit that has been long in the making:…
Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Belizean Minister of Foreign Affairs
"The Foreign Secretary has made a very special effort; he's exceedingly busy to be in Belize today so that we could put together a kind of agenda for a way forward. We want to come up with an agenda of matters of importance to us."
Jose Antonio Meade Kuribena - Mexican Secretary Of Foreign Affairs
"This meeting has been very long overdue; the president Enrique Peńa Nieto has asked us to work closely with Belize."
Hon. Wilfred Elrington
"Things that we will have to be doing is to enter into legal arrangements, legal framework to allow us to do trade with each other and to protect that trade we have to have a special agreement protecting the investment of our investors. Double taxation treaties will have to enter into mutual legal assistance treaties, extradition treaties - we want to develop more cooperation in terms of education, in terms of security and in terms of health."
Jose Antonio Meade Kuribena
"We talked about how security will play a relevant role in what we will try to build in the future. Just before this meeting, together with the Mexican authorities in terms of the border, we went along the Rio Hondo border to look first hand at what the situation was there. We agree with Minister Elrington that security has to be a center piece, an important part of our joint agenda and efforts. It is a border that poses challenges and it is also a border that has many opportunities, it's a border that by working together between Belize and Mexico we can make it a secure border."
Apart from those agreements, Meade also said they need to review the arrangements for the sports facility Mexico’s former president Felipe Calderon promised Belize:…
Jose Antonio Meade Kuribena
"We will set up a meeting later on this week to identify where exactly Belize is at in terms of refurbishing its Civic Center and in which way Mexico can support that effort. That is that we 're committed to do it, we want to be part of refurbishing of the Civic Center and we want - in order to be able to do so - to identify exactly where the Government of Belize is at and what the Government of Mexico can do to help."
As it currently stands, government has committed to build the new Civic Center with Petrocaribe funds. Of course, the old one hasn’t even been torn down yet, so anything is still possible.
Meade left Belize at 4:00 pm, after the press conference. He said discussions are underway for reciprocal visits by Belizean Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto – but no plans have been finalized.