PM hopes US will not cut aid

By Benjamin Flowers

Prime Minister Dean Barrow is hoping that the United States will not cut aid to Belize following the country’s position adopted at the United Nations against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Barrow noted that US aid to Belize is primarily related to security, which he said is a matter with which the US has a vested interest in maintaining in Belize. Barrow went on to say that Belize’s decision to join the other 127 other countries in voting against the US recognition was not intended to be antagonistic to the United States, but was a decision of principle.
“We completely respect the US’ determination to go otherwise. We had thought that it wouldn’t be too much to ask them to respect ours,” Barrow said.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, had said that President Donald Trump would be monitoring which countries voted against the US decision and would cut aid to those countries.
Trump told the international media that countries “… take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

Shortly after the UN resolution, the US announced that it had brokered a deal with its congress for a $200 million reduction in its national budget. The US did not clarify how much of the budgetary reduction would affect its contribution to the UN but did say that the country would be making reductions to the UN management and support functions.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington said that he doesn’t think the vote would affect Belize/US relations given Belize’s small size.

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