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Feb 26, 1998

Belize gets certified by U.S.

It?s official: a war of words between Belmopan and Washington over the issue of de-certification has been averted. The White House today announced that Belize has been certified by the United States as fully cooperating in the fight against illicit drugs and related criminal activity. While it is welcome news, Foreign Minister Dean Barrow, in a brief telephone conversation with News Director Patrick Jones said that he remains firmly behind his position that the entire process is arbitrary and an unfair mechanism that is unacceptable between sovereign equals. A government press release says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is satisfied that the record achievements of the government of Belize and the security forces of the country, have been given due recognition by the United States. But while Barrow’s fear of Belize being de-certified for a second year running has been put at ease, the U.S. Embassy, in a release announcing the decision issued what sounded like a friendly warning, that the Government of Belize should improve its prosecution of major drug cases, provide more support for the judicial branch and conclude long pending negotiations on a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and a new extradition treaty with the United States.

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