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Aug 11, 2006

Belize and Mexico talk border security issues

Story PictureDiplomatic ties between Belize and Mexico are strengthened tonight thanks to a bi-lateral programme designed to curb illegal activities in border areas. News Five’s Janelle Chanona has the details.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Today more than forty Mexican and Belizean law enforcement officials met in the old capital for a round of technical talks on national security strategies.

Gerald Westby, Police Commissioner, Belize
?We have a memorandum of understanding that directs this action plan. Once we have set out this action plan, we have a timetable. We?ll place a timetable on the action plan and we?ll start to work the different groups. We have a group that deals with immigration, a subgroup that deals with customs, a sub group that deals with organized crime, a group that deals with public security. So these five different sub groups will be working with their counterparts to ensure that they have a workable plan that they can have joint operations, not joint but coordinated border operations and exchange of information.?

Arturo Trejo, Mexican Ambassador to Belize
?These are institutional projects that do not depend on a particular government. It?s just cooperation among established authorities and we want to continue this for the future. We have pressure because internationally, events put pressure on both countries, on Belize and Mexico. It?s a challenge and we need to come up with a response to that challenge. And that?s what we are doing.?

The idea of a tri-partied Security Council was one of the agreements signed between Belize and Mexico following the visit of President Vicente Fox in June 2005.

Arturo Trejo
?We have a similar group with Guatemala. We are working, Mexico with Guatemala, Mexico with Belize and we try to achieve a concept with both borders, our border with Guatemala, our border with Belize. We would to achieve a good coordination, a good cooperation so that we can have more security. We want less trafficking in persons, we want to have less drug trafficking, less smuggling of drugs and arms and all things that are not in the framework of the law.?

Gerald Westby, Belize Commissioner of Police
?Guatemala will be involved eventually. We want it to work because we share a common border, and nobody will go away geographically so we need to work together.?

Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

Today’s session was one follow-up of a meeting in March between officials from Belize’s Ministry of Home Affairs and the Mexican Interior Ministry.

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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