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OAS and European Union Extend their Collaboration until 2027 in Support of Belize and Guatemala in their Territorial Differendum

  May 24, 2024

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the European Union (EU) signed today a new three-year project to support the work of the OAS Mission in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala. The European Union has supported the special international mandate of the OAS in the Adjacency Zone since 2012 through financial assistance for its operations. This new project ensures the continuation of the peacebuilding mission and reaffirms the commitment of both entities to peace and stability in the region, providing the necessary framework for the continuity of mediation and cooperation efforts in this area.

The OAS Mission in the Zone has played a crucial role for 20 years in facilitating dialogue and cooperation between the two countries, as well as promoting an environment of peace and security in the Adjacency Zone, established as part of the process of resolution of the territorial differendum between Belize and Guatemala and which has been a focus of international attention due to its geopolitical and social importance.

Among other advances so far, the OAS has participated in the verification of more than 490 incidents in the Adjacency Zone, facilitates periodic meetings between the armed forces of both countries (each year 12 annual meetings between middle officers and 4 between senior officers), and strengthens political and diplomatic dialogue by helping to maintain a channel of communication between both Ministries of Foreign Affairs. In addition, it has contributed to understanding between the populations of the area by promoting community development, with the establishment of four educational centers where more than 1,000 students have been trained (80% women), and offers frequent activities for the communities living in the Adjacency Zone area in health, access to justice, social and cultural development.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the OAS for Belize-Guatemala Affairs, Ambassador Agustín Espinosa, highlighted the importance of this project: "The extension of our mission in the Adjacency Zone is a testimony to the unwavering commitment of the OAS and the EU to peace and security in the Americas. We deeply appreciate the continued support of the European Union, which has been an essential partner in this effort."

For her part, the EU Ambassador to Belize Marianne Van Steen, noted that "The European Union has been an important and continued supporter of the work the OAS mission has been doing in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala because of the importance we attach to its peace-building activities, its efforts to promote dialogue, operational cross-border cooperation and contributing to the stability of the region”.

Under the new project with a budget of 3 Million Euro (approximately $ 6.5 Million Belize Dollars) funded by the EU, the OAS Mission in the Adjacency Zone will continue to work closely with the authorities of Belize and Guatemala to promote confidence-building measures, resolve incidents and support community development projects that benefit local populations. This joint effort seeks not only to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the territorial differendum, but also the improvement of the quality of life in the region.

The OAS and the EU are committed to contribute to creating an enabling environment to ensure that the Adjacency Zone is a model of cooperation and peaceful conflict resolution. This project is a significant step towards achieving these objectives and reflects the will of both organizations to support a future of peace and development for Belize and Guatemala, both in the present and with a view to the stage following the pending ruling of the International Court of Justice on the differendum.

For more information:

Gonzalo Espáriz
Press and Communications Director
([email protected])

Elizabeth Mary Lanzi Mazzocchini Communication Coordinator
European Union Technical Support Office to Belize
([email protected])
Tel. +501 6149186

Sergio De León
Head of Press and Cultural Affairs
Delegation of the European Union to Guatemala
([email protected] )
Tel. +502 52081308

Reference: E-036/24