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#474090 - 10/04/13 10:38 AM Guatemala Protests Hon. Elrington's Speech To UN
Marty Offline
On Monday, we showed you the speech that Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington made to the United Nations General Assembly. Elrington described the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute as an existential threat to Belize and the degradation of Belize's territory by trespassing Guatemalans who engage in multiple illegal activities. Well, the Guatemalans didn't like what Elrington had to say one bit. Yesterday, they fired off a nine point letter to the Secretary General of the OAS protesting Elrington's speech.

The letter says, quote, "Guatemala...rejects any suggestion of the intent to enforce their rights to the territory administered by Belize, through violent or military action." End quote.

Point four says quote, "While Guatemala's armed forces have not caused a single incident in the adjacency zone or nearby, the Belize Defense Forces have consistently violated the human rights of Guatemalans and so far have caused several deaths of fellow citizens and several injured, in addition to having made several incursions into Guatemalan territory, which have been verified by the Office of the OAS in the Adjacency Zone." End quote. IT adds, heatedly, that it is not acceptable that people should be killed simply for trespassing quote "especially when the (territory) is under dispute and what exists (as) recognized by both states is an adjacency zone." end quote.

And the Guatemalans go on to scold the Belize Government saying quote, "The Government of Guatemala does not accept the derogatory and discriminatory treatment used by the Foreign Minister of Belize regarding Guatemalan farmers, fishermen and villagers, blaming them for numerous illegal acts, which, on the contrary are a source of concern for our government and we are strongly involved in counteracting them."

Channel 7


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#474178 - 10/05/13 11:20 AM Re: Guatemala Protests Hon. Elrington's Speech To UN [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

PM Barrow Says Elrington Was On Target In UN Speech

And today, we also got the Prime Minister to comment on Wednesday's angry statement by the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As we reported last night, the Guatemalans are vexed about the statements made at the United Nations General assembly by Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. Elrington said, quote, "both our territorial and our maritime border regions have been suffering from depredation and environment degradation in consequence of the wanton and sustained illegal activities of Guatemalan campesino, fishermen and other criminal elements engaged in narco-trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, illegal panning for gold, the extraction of Xate and other exotic plants and animals, the illegal felling of timber and the pillaging of our ancient Mayan ruins." End quote.

Those words, and many others on that subject, incensed the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs which sent a letter of protest to the OAS. The nine point letter says, quote, "The Government of Guatemala does not accept the derogatory and discriminatory treatment used by the Foreign Minister of Belize regarding Guatemalan farmers, fishermen and villagers, blaming them for numerous illegal acts, which, on the contrary are a source of concern for our government and we are strongly involved in counteracting them. Neither does it accept the unfortunate concepts which ascribe to Guatemala an alleged responsibility for environmental destruction in Belize…the actions of some nationals would never make the State responsible for such acts."

Indeed it is a major diplomatic dispute, and today the Prime Minister backed up his Foreign Minister.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"That tells me that Minister Elrington must have been on the right track."

Jules Vasquez
"He didn't speak a lie, but perhaps they are saying that that wasn't the place at all to talk about it."

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"I don't agree with them. When you go to the United Nations general assembly - that's precisely the place to talk about matters involving your viability, your territorial integrity and any threats there to. I think the Guatemalans are way wide of the mark in suggesting that that wasn't the place. Could I just add this much more; I don't want to say "poor" Foreign Minister because there is nothing poor about him. He can handle himself, but if he doesn't say anything, they give him hell. If he says something, they give him hell. All that a side, in my view he was right on point in speaking out as he did on this particular occasion."

Channel 7


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#474401 - 10/08/13 11:25 AM Re: Guatemala Protests Hon. Elrington's Speech To UN [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Foreign Minister Elrington gave an update on Guatemala’s 9-point letter of protest

Last week, the government of Guatemala wrote to the Secretary General of the O.A.S., to protest the language used by Foreign Minister Ellington at the United Nations in the context of the territorial dispute. Elrington told the UN General Assembly that Guatemala had backed out of an October sixth referendum and that not seeking a solution to the dispute was hurting Belizeans and investors. The Foreign Minister also said that the dispute is a threat to Belize and that there is degradation of Belize’s territory by Guatemalans who encroach within our borders. In a nine point missive, Guatemala replied in kind to Elrington’s statement. It rejected “any suggestion of the intent to enforce their rights to the territory administered by Belize, through violent or military action.” And claimed that “while Guatemala’s armed forces have not caused a single incident in the adjacency zone or nearby, the Belize Defense Forces have consistently violated the human rights of Guatemalans and so far have caused several deaths of fellow citizens and several injured, in addition to having made several incursions into Guatemalan territory, which have been verified by the Office of the OAS in the Adjacency Zone.” The Guatemalan government also added that it is unacceptable for Guatemalans to be killed for trespassing because the area is under dispute and there only exists an adjacency zone between both countries. On Saturday following the U.D.P. executive meeting on the passport scandal involving Elvin Penner who did not attend, Foreign Minister Elrington gave an update on Guatemala’s nine point letter of protest.

Wilfred Elrington, Foreign Affairs Minister

“Well what I said was that the Guatemalans are requesting that the matter be adjourned without wanting to stipulate any new date for it. They are the ones that have been reluctant in arriving at anew date. We have been prepared to do it next year 2014 if that would be more convenient for them, but they are not prepared to set a date.”

Reporter

“Does this represent a shift in the approach to this issue by the government of Belize?”

Wilfred Elrington

“No the government of Belize is very firm on our position and we think that it should be resolved as quickly as possible and we think that the best way to have it resolved is by going to the ICJ.”

Reporter

“By which I mean; are you being a bit more aggressive in terms of presenting our case to the international market?”

Wilfred Elrington

“We have to be a bit more aggressive in terms of trying to get the Guatemalans to move forward because it affects us every day. It is not affecting them, but it certainly affects us and we can’t just sit back and do nothing and just wait until they decide to do. We have got to try to repel the process forward because it is affecting us every single day.”

Despite the protest by Guatemala, we note that there was a high level meeting on Sunday involving the C.E.O. of the Foreign Ministry, Alexis Rosado and his Guatemala counterpart, Carlos Raul Morales. Although Foreign Ministry matters came up, the primary objective of the meeting held under the auspices of the O.A.S. was for the exchange of information and experiences in electoral management as well as the conduct of referenda in both countries. The meeting took place within the framework of the new confidence-building measures that both countries adopted last May. The event is billed as a symbolic one since October sixth was the date set for the simultaneous referendum on whether or not to take the territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Channel 5


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#474519 - 10/09/13 11:14 AM Re: Guatemala Protests Hon. Elrington's Speech To UN [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Talking Around A Referendum With The OAS

It's not quite referendum talk, but, On Monday, electoral authorities of Belize and Guatemala met in San Ignacio, Belize under the auspices of the OAS. A release says they exchanged information, experiences and best practices in electoral management; identify areas for inter-institutional collaboration; and further learn about the norms and processes in each country to conduct referendums. Guatemala ?s delegation was headed by the President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, María Eugenia Villagrán de León, and Mr. Bernard Pitts, President of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, led the Belizean delegation.

The meeting took place within the framework of the new confidence-building measures that both countries adopted last May with a view to improving the conditions necessary to establish a new date to hold the simultaneous referenda.

Channel 7


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