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#423610 - 11/29/11 10:33 AM Belize and Guat Foreign Ministers Meet OAS SecGen
Marty Offline
Secretary General Meets with Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala

On Nov. 28, at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), delegations of Belize and Guatemala, headed by their respective Foreign Ministers, the Honorable Wilfred Elrington and His Excellency Haroldo Rodas Melgar, met with OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, in a highly cordial and cooperative atmosphere.

The Foreign Ministers expressed their profound appreciation to the Organization of American States and its Secretary General, and underscored the effective and efficient work of the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone between Belize and Guatemala, which has been working since 2003 to maintain peace and stability between the two countries.

Both Minsters also clearly recognized the political, technical and financial support provided by the Group of Friends of Belize and Guatemala over the years, and most recently by Canada, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In this connection, they also agreed to convene, along with the Secretary General, a meeting of the Group of Friends in Guatemala City on December 12, 2011.

The OAS Secretary General welcomed the renewed commitment of the Foreign Ministers to comply with the terms of the Special Agreement, signed on December 8, 2008 under the auspices of the OAS, with regard to holding the simultaneous referenda. To this end, the Secretary General will convene a bilateral meeting immediately after the electoral processes in Belize have concluded, with a view to holding the referenda before the end of the year 2013.

The Secretary General urged the Parties to begin the education campaigns aimed at sensitizing the public, prior to holding the referenda, and reiterated the full support of the OAS to carry out this task.

The Foreign Ministers also agreed that the Secretary General would convene a meeting of the High–Level Working Group during the first quarter of 2012 to strengthen cooperation and coordination between inter-governmental agencies, as well as to identify joint opportunities and programs in the fields of education, technical cooperation, and development to consolidate the already friendly relations between the two neighbors.

A gallery of photos of the event are available HERE .


#423612 - 11/29/11 10:36 AM Re: Belize and Guat Foreign Ministers Meet OAS SecGen [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Guatemalan and Belizean Foreign Ministers Meet to Discuss Territorial Dispute
Robert Munks

The ministers of foreign affairs of Central American neighbours Guatemala and Belize met yesterday (28 November) at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the US capital Washington, aiming to review progress in an unresolved territorial dispute dating back to 1859. The stand-off came to crisis point in 2000 when, in a bid to shore up waning domestic popularity, the Guatemalan government reasserted its claim to more than half of Belize's territory and took its case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, at which point the OAS began a mediation process. Meeting yesterday with OAS secretary-general Jose Miguel Insulza, ministers Haroldo Rojas of Guatemala and Wilfred Elrington of Belize agreed to call a meeting of the Group of Friends on 12 December 2011 and of the OAS High-Level Working Group in the first quarter of 2012. The meeting will seek to improve co-operation on a range of inter-governmental issues including development projects and education. The two countries are now committed to carrying out simultaneous national referenda to establish popular sentiment regarding the ongoing territorial dispute and to establish whether the jurisdiction of the ICJ would be mutually acceptable.

Significance:Insulza has signalled that the next round of meetings will precede the planned holding of the referenda by the end of 2013, the results of which will dictate the next steps--if any--towards eventual resolution of the dispute. Tensions over the disputed territory have dissipated in recent years, with both countries focusing on domestic priorities such as economic recovery and a growth in organised crime. If the referenda are positive on the question of submitting the case to the ICJ, a protracted legal process of several years can be expected, during which both sides will present written claims and counter-claims.


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