Referendum: Should the Belize/Guatemala dispute go to the ICJ?
Simultaneous referenda are to be held in Belize and Guatemala before the end of 2013 to decide if the final decision in the border dispute should be placed in the hands of International Court of Justice.
“To this end, the Secretary General will convene a bilateral meeting immediately after the electoral processes in Belize have concluded,” the Organization of American States announced.
Belize’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington met with Guatemala’s Foreign Minister H.E. Haroldo Rodas Melgar and the OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC on Monday, November 28.
The OAS also issued a release stating: “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... with regard to holding the simultaneous referenda.” The Secretary General also urged “The Parties” to hold educational campaigns to sensitize the public, prior to holding the referendums.
In December 2008, Belize and Guatemala had signed the compromis, a special agreement in which both countries would ask their electorate to approve or disapprove the ICJ’s inclusion in the matter.
The compromis stipulates that both countries would consider the ICJ’s ruling, regardless of in whose favor the judgement is handed down, as final.
The meeting also underscored the significance of the political, technical and financial support given by the Group of Friends of Belize and Guatemala.
The Ministers and the Secretary General therefore agreed to convene a meeting with said group December 12, 2011.
To strengthen the coordination between inter-government agencies, the Secretary General also agreed to convene a meeting of the High-Level Working Group during the first quarter of 2012.