Press Release
September 7, 2007

OAS MEETING OF FRIENDS OF BELIZE AND GUATEMALA GETS PROGRESS REPORT ON RESETTLEMENT OF SANTA ROSA COMMUNITY IN THE ADJACENCY ZONE

A progress report on the project to resettle the Santa Rosa community of Guatemalans living in a part of the Adjacency Zone administered by Belize was delivered today at a meeting of the Friends of Belize and Guatemala, convened by Secretary General José Miguel Insulza at the Organization of American States (OAS) headquarters.

Secretary General Insulza described the resettlement of the community of Santa Rosa to Guatemalan territory—the topic of the meeting of countries forming the Group of Friends of Belize-Guatemala—as “the last remaining material obstacle before we directly move into the substantive issues.” He also thanked the Group of Friends for their invaluable support for the process.

In his report, the OAS Secretary General’s special representative for Belize and Guatemala, Raúl Lago, highlighted the progress made in the Santa Rosa resettlement project. He made mention of a framework agreement signed in September 2005, which also includes provisions for confidence-building measures between the neighboring countries. Included in the progress report as well are such matters as the purchase of land to which the community is to be resettled, as well as the phases of the project and the related budget.

During the meeting, Guatemala’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Ambassador Francisco Villagrán, and the Interim Representative of Belize, Nestor Mendez, expressed appreciation for the OAS’ role in this process, and thanked the Group of Friends for their support. Mendez also stressed the urgent need for central aspects of this Santa Rosa resettlement project to be concluded ahead of elections in both countries.

In this process of negotiation between Belize and Guatemala, the OAS through its Fund for Peace, facilitates the negotiation and supports confidence-and-security-building measures between both countries. This Fund is administered by the Department of Sustainable Democracy and Special Missions, which falls under the OAS Secretariat for Political Affairs.