Donation of Equipment to the Belize Defence Force and the Guatemalan Army
June 26, 2013
Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone
On June 26, 2013, the Office of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Belize-Guatemala Adjacency Zone presented the Belize Defense Force (BDF) and the Guatemalan Army with a significant donation of specialized equipment to be used by the military personnel of both countries assigned to patrolling the Adjacency Zone. The equipment consists of 100 Global Positioning System (GPS) units, four satellite radios, solar panels and other accessories to be equally divided between both security forces.
During the ceremony, Mrs. Magdalena Talamas, Chief of the OAS Peace Fund explained that this type of in-kind support in the form of equipment donation is contemplated in the confidence building measures but that until now, due to lack of funding, it had not been possible to purchase such a vast number of units nor such sophisticated devices as the satellite radios; however, today this donation was made possible thanks to the generous contributions of the governments of Canada and the European Union to the OAS Peace Fund. In previous years, the United Kingdom had donated GPS equipment to the Mission.
Among the many senior officials present at the ceremony to receive the donations were the CEO of the Ministry of National Security of Belize, Lt. Col. George Lovell; Brigadier General David Jones, Commander of the BDF; His Excellency Manuel Tellez, Ambassador of Guatemala to Belize; Brigadier General Luis Landaverry Martinez, Commander of the First Infantry Brigade, Guatemala Army. Also present at the handing over ceremony were: Ambassador Mario Velazquez Suarez, Ambassador of Mexico to Belize, Mr. Jesus Orus Baguena, Chief of Operations, European Union, Mr. Cosimo Lamberti Fossati, Head of Office, European Union in Belize; Mrs. Margaret Hawthorne, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the United States of America and Mrs. Jackie Brown, Deputy British High Commissioner.
Lt. Colonel George Lovell took advantage of the opportunity to convey a message on behalf of his government and noted that “This contribution demonstrates the commitment of the OAS to work with the Governments of Belize and Guatemala to enhance and strengthen the Confidence Building Measures between the two countries. He further stated that “we must commend the Director and his staff for the good hard work that they do in complying with the mandate that we gave them back in 2003 and which is still in place today.”
His Excellency Manuel Tellez, Ambassador of Guatemala to Belize expressed his gratitude to the Government of Canada and the European Union for the valuable donation through the Office of the OAS/AZ “which will improve the relations in the Adjacency Zone and help to notably reduce incidents along the Adjacency Zone. He also highlighted the great value and support of the provision of this new GPS equipment to the Guatemalan Army which will assist in the carrying out of patrols in the Adjacency Zone.” He ended by stating that “this contribution will also assist in combating the proliferation of incidents and will contribute to improve relations between the armies and the two neighboring countries as well”.
Mr. Jesus Orus Baguena who spoke on behalf of the European Union indicated “that all of us here today, the Governments and organizations we represent want to see the plant of friendship between Belize and Guatemala grow and thrive. I have great confidence that by working together we will soon see the completion of this long process and taste the fruits of success”.
In closing, Mr. Sergio Benitez, Director of the OAS/AZ Office described the work of the OAS in the Adjacency Zone and explained that since the Office began operations in 2003 it has helped defuse hundreds of incidents; forged numerous alliances among bi-national counterparts; offered specialized training and workshops in specific technical areas; implemented a highly successful culture of peace program that benefits hundreds of local students on an annual basis; and facilitated increased cooperation among the armed and security forces of Belize and Guatemala who now boast a strong military to military relationship, which includes frequent coordination meetings, information exchanges and joint evaluations of the security situation in the Adjacency Zone. Since the negotiation process to find a peaceful and permanent solution to the centuries-old territorial dispute began in the year 2000 under the auspices of the OAS there has not been one single confrontation among the armed forces of Belize and Guatemala, rather the relationship has been characterized as very friendly and cooperative.
Speech of Magdalena Talamas, Chief of the Peace Fund at the event English | Español
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