Relations with Britain
Britain maintained approximately 1,500 troops in Belize to guarantee Belizean independence in the face of the Guatemalan territorial claims. The presence of the troops represented an exception to the long-standing British policy of not making military commitments to former colonies. Although the prospects for an agreement with Guatemala looked good in 1991, Minister of Foreign Affairs Said Musa emphasized that the presence of the British troops and an agreement with Guatemala were two separate issues. British officials have stated that the troops would remain even if an agreement were reached. Reasons cited for a continued British military presence in Belize included training the Belize Defence Force, providing British troops with an opportunity to train in a tropical environment, deterring leftist guerrillas from using Belize as a conduit for arms, and balancing the United States military presence in the region with a British presence. Britain spent an estimated US$18 million more per year to maintain its garrison troops in Belize rather than in Britain.
Britain provided Belize with military assistance in the form of training and equipment. Britain also provided interest-free loans totaling US$13.5 million under its multilateral capital aid program for the 1989-94 period. It also provided grants totaling US$1.4 million a year in the early 1990s through the technical cooperation program.
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