Foreign relations of Belize
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Belize maintains fourteen embassies to foreign countries, one additional consulate, and three missions to international organizations. In 1990, Belize became a member of the Organization of American States.
In order to strengthen its potential for economic and political development Belize has sought to build closer ties with the Spanish-speaking countries of Central America to complement its historical ties to the English-speaking Caribbean states. Recent foreign policy initiatives include joining with the other Central American countries in signing the CONCAUSA Agreement on regional sustainable development and becoming a full member of the Central American Integration System (SICA) Belize is a member of CARICOM which was founded in 1973.
On February 15, 1982, formal relations were established. Colombia's embassy in Belize closed in 2002 in order to cut down on costs though the embassy of Colombia in El Salvador is also concurrent to Belize. On April 17, 2013, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister met with the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia in order to strengthen relations.
Belize's principal external concern has been the dispute involving the Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory. Initially a dispute between formerly Spanish Guatemala and the United Kingdom's colony of British Honduras, Guatemala continued its claim after Belizean independence in 1981; it recognized its neighbour's independence one decade later, in 1991. The dispute remains unresolved.
Diplomatic relations between Mexico and Belize were established in 1981.
- Mexico has an embassy in Belmopan.
- Belize has an embassy in Mexico City.
- Both countries are members of the Association of Caribbean States and the Organization of American States.
- Nicaragua has an embassy in Belize City.
- Belize is represented in Nicaragua by its embassy in Guatemala City.
- Both countries are members of the Association of Caribbean States, Central American Integration System and the Organization of American States.
Under the previous premiership of Said Musa, Belize remained a staunch supporter of Palestinian rights and shunned relations with Israel due to the latter's military and intelligence support for Guatemala. Since the election of Dean Barrow in 2008, however, relations with Israel have improved considerably. In June 2011, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington met with Israeli envoy Danny Ayalon to discuss an upcoming resolution in September aimed at recognising a Palestinian state. Following the meeting, Ayalon claimed that he had gained the support of Belize in opposing the resolution. However, on 9 September, the Belizean Foreign Ministry issued an official statement recognizing the State of Palestine with the borders prior to the Six Day War.
Both countries have established diplomatic relations on June 25, 1991. Belize immediately recognized Russia as the USSR's successor after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Belize is a member of the Commonwealth and was granted independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. Formerly known as British Honduras, the British maintained a garrison in Belize well into the 1990s, until Guatemala, which has always claimed sovereignty of the country, signed a treaty recognising Belize's independence. The United Kingdom maintains a training centre for the army in Belize.
On 3 March 2012, Prince Harry visited Belize on a tour of Commonwealth countries in the region as the Queen's representative in her Diamond Jubilee, making this his first solo royal tour. There he renamed Zennia Boulevard (also known as Cohune Walk Boulevard) in the capital to "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard", in honour of his grandmother.
The United Kingdom has a High Commission in Belmopan, whilst Belize also has one in London.
Belize-United States relations have traditionally been close and cordial. The United States is Belize's principal trading partner and major source of investment funds. It is also home to the largest Belizean community outside Belize, estimated to be 70,000 strong. Because Belize's economic growth and accompanying democratic political stability are important U.S. objectives, Belize benefits from the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative.
As a member of CARICOM Belize strongly backed efforts by the United States to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 940 designed to facilitate the departure of Haiti's de facto authorities from power. The country agreed to contribute military personnel to the Multinational Task Force which restored the democratically elected Government of Haiti in October 1994 and to the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH).
International crime issues dominate the agenda of bilateral relations between the United States and Belize. The United States is working closely with the Government of Belize to fight illicit narcotics trafficking, and both governments seek to control the flow of illegal migrants to the United States through Belize. Belize and the United States brought into force a stolen vehicle treaty, an extradition treaty, and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between 2001 and 2003.
The United States is the largest provider of economic assistance to Belize, contributing $2.5 million in various bilateral economic and military aid programs to Belize in FY 2006. Of this amount, nearly $500,000 was provided by the U.S. Military Liaison Office. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) closed its Belize office in August 1996 after a 13-year program during which USAID provided $110 million worth of development assistance to Belize. Belize still benefits from USAID regional programs. In addition, during the past 42 years, almost 2,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Belize. As of April 2007, the Peace Corps had 58 volunteers working in Belize.
Until the end of 2002, Voice of America operated a medium-wave radio relay station in Punta Gorda that broadcast to the neighboring countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The U.S. military has a diverse and growing assistance program in Belize that included the construction and renovation of several schools and youth hostels, medical assistance programs, and drug reduction programs. Private North American investors continue to play a key role in Belize's economy, particularly in the tourism sector.
Belize and the Commonwealth of Nations
Belize has been a member state of the Commonwealth since 1981, when it became an independent Commonwealth realm.
Belize is a member of the following multilateral bodies.
- African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP)
- The Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL)
- Caribbean Community (Caricom)
- Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
- Commonwealth of Nations
- Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
- Group of 77 (G-77)
- Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
- International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)
- International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRM)
- International Development Association (IDA)
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- International Finance Corporation (IFC)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- Intelsat (nonsignatory user)
- International Olympic Committee (IOC)
- International Organization for Migration (IOM) (observer)
- International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
- Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Latin American Economic System (LAES)
- The United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
- Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- World Confederation of Labour (WCL)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- List of diplomatic missions in Belize
- List of diplomatic missions of Belize
- North American Free Trade Agreement
- Free Trade Area of the Americas
- Third Border Initiative
- Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)
- Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act
- Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
- "Belize embassy". www.mfa.gov.bz. Retrieved 7 Mar 2014.
- "Belice" (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Embajada de Mexico en Belize" (in English and Spanish). embamex.sre.gob.mx. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- Ministry of foreign affairs of Belize (in English only).
- Indian Honorary Consulate in Belize
- Belize Honorary Consulate in India
- Madsen, Wayne (18 July 2011). "Israeli Math". Opinion Maker. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
- "Festivities for Prince Harry in Belmopan". BelmopanCityOnline.com. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Belizean High Commission in London, United Kingdom
- British High Commission in Belmopan
- Embassy of Belize in Guatemala City, Guatemala
- Embassy of Belize in Washington, D.C.
- Embassy of Republic of China (Taiwan) in Belize City
- United States Embassy in Belmopan
- Other Documents
- Submission of Belize/Guatemala Case to ICJ in 2009
- Summary of Legal Opinion of 25 November 2008
- Belize/Guatemala ICJ Compromis Signed at OAS in Washington, D.C. on 8 December 2008
- Belize Leading Counsel of 19 December 2008
- Dominican Republic
This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html. This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/index.htm (Background Notes).