US – Central American leaders to strengthen security and humanitarian partnerships

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By Government Press Office | BELIZE

BELMOPAN, Belize – For the first time since 2011, Belize will host the 2022 Central American Security Conference (CENTSEC) from January 31 to February 2, which will include high-level defense and security leaders from the United States, Central America, and other Western Hemisphere countries.

US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and the Belize Ministry of National Defence will co-host this year’s conference themed “Collaborative Responses to Regional Security and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Challenges.”

The United States, through US SOUTHCOM, sponsors CENTSEC annually to facilitate dialogue between regional security leaders as part of a continuing commitment to strengthen cooperative ties and achieve shared security goals. Leaders will engage in roundtable sessions and bilateral meetings on topics ranging from transnational criminal organizations and irregular migration, to COVID-19, climate change, and natural disasters.

The US delegation will be led by SOUTHCOM Commander General Laura Richardson, a four-star general in the US Army. Heading the Belizean delegation is Belize Defence Force Commander Brigadier General Azariel Loria.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the indispensable need for global and regional collaboration. The United States is committed to strengthening partnerships with Central America aimed at addressing transnational threats of mutual concern,” emphasized US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Leyla Moses-Ones. “CENTSEC is an opportunity to examine present and future challenges threatening both democracy and citizen security from a regional perspective, and to engage in candid discourse on ways we can work together to forge a secure and prosperous region.”

Belize minister of national defence Florencio Marin Jr. emphasized: “Belize is proud to once again host this important regional security meeting in collaboration with the US SOUTHCOM. We look forward to the critical discussions that will take place over the course of the days ahead and remain committed to strengthening cooperation with our Central American neighbours as we work to address the issues which continue to challenge our region. We are also pleased to welcome General Richardson to our Belizean shores and congratulate her on being the first woman to lead the US SOUTHCOM. Belize looks forward to the continued and strengthened partnership during her tenure.

Participating countries include Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemalan, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Representing the United States are leaders and security experts from the US Southern Command, the US Department of Defense, and the US State Department.

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