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Nov 15, 2023

Belize’s Foreign Minister Reiterates G.O.B.’s Position on Israel

Since the Briceño administration announced on Tuesday that it is suspending all diplomatic ties with Israel, amid the ongoing war in the Middle East, considerable interest has been raised in the foreign press over Belize’s bold decision.  As we’ve reported, a number of direct measures have been taken by Cabinet, including the withdrawal of an agreement to receive Israel’s Ambassador Designate to Belize.  In speaking with News Five earlier today, Foreign Minister Eamon Courtenay reiterated government’s position, one which he says is based on fundamental principles.  We begin our newscast tonight with a sit-down with FM Courtenay in the latest developments following that announcement.


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We believe that we have an obligation, a legal obligation to speak out and to take whatever steps we can to try to encourage Israel to stop what it is doing and in that regard, we have sent tweets, we have joined press releases by CARICOM.  I have spoken to the designated ambassador to Belize, we have sent a diplomatic note encouraging an immediate ceasefire allowing relief supplies to go in and, of course, the release of all hostages.  All of that has fallen on deaf ears insofar as Israel is concerned and therefore, on Monday, the Cabinet, along with the PUP parliamentarians took the decision which we announced yesterday. The position of our government is based on principles, fundamental principles that underpin our foreign policy.  First of all, all disputes should, according to the United Nations Charter, be resolved peacefully.  Secondly, there is, in the case of war or conflict, certain rules and laws that apply.  One is referred to as distinction which is that you must go distinctly after your target, you cannot collectively punish people.  And in the case of Gaza, what we are seeing from our point of view is a complete, indiscriminate bombing of civilians, infrastructure in Gaza.  In the case of the law of war, there is another principle; one is called whatever you do must be proportionate.  What we are seeing is absolutely not proportionate and therefore, in our view, there is a gross violation of international law by the government of Israel.  But beyond that, there is just the real human dimension and we see a roughly two million people in a very small, confined area who were told everybody in the north move south.  They were bombed in the north, they were bombed on their way to the south and now they are all trapped, or most of them are trapped in the south and we are witnessing bombings in the south.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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