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Sep 19, 2018

Belize and UK Sign Revised M.O.U. for Military Training

Today, the Governments of Belize and the United Kingdom signed the revised Status of Forces Agreement and its Memorandum of Understanding concerning the Status of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom.  The revised agreement sets out the new legal framework within which personnel of the UK Armed Forces will operate while in Belize. The agreement provides for a strong platform for increasing activities of UK forces and for the strengthening of the partnership between the two countries. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Today the government of Belize through Ministry of National Security signed a Memorandum of Understanding and the Status of Forces Agreement with the United Kingdom. Today’s signing is to commit to a revised cooperation that Belize has had with the UK since the nineteen-nineties.

 

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“We have had an agreement that has been in place since nineteen-ninety-four. That is the last time we did it and we felt that it needed to be modernized, it needed to be improved and the language needed to change in some respects to cover exactly how the UK forces can and do operate here in Belize and that is the reason we have signed these two agreements. We know that it is going to help us tremendously. The UK has committed to maintaining their presence here in Belize through this training unit and we hope to see an increase in their presence for the purpose of training.”

 

For about seventy-years the British Armed Forces have been stationed in Belize. And so for many years, the British Armed Training and Support Unit (BATSUB) has been conducting joint training exercise with the Belize Defence Force.  Belize’s terrain has proven to be a good fit for the British soldiers to prepare for jungle warfare operations.

 

Mark Lancaster

Mark Lancaster, Minister of State for UK Armed Forces

“We have had BATSUB here in Belize now for many years. For us it is an incredible valuable training area where our soldiers can come and experience an environment which they simply don’t normally get to do. That means if they are well placed, for example, if they are to get to participate in the United Nations missions which are of value to the while world. But equally it means that we can work more closely with the Belize Defence Force. This is for mutual benefit as we conduct our training together and we learn from each other. That simply strengthen the long standing relationship that our two countries have had.”

 

Minister John Saldivar says that this agreement provides for cross-training and other opportunities for the B.D.F.

 

John Saldivar

“Well, certainly cross-training in terms of our people being involved with the training of the UK Forces that are here. As well as in terms of physical space, physical equipment, buildings that may be residual from their presence here. But we believe the training aspect of it especially with our people working along with the UK Forces is very important.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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