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#504576 - 05/26/15 05:57 AM Belize, Guatemala en route to solve dispute
Marty Offline

Belize and Guatemala en route to solve territorial dispute sponsored by OAS

Belize and Guatemala signed on Monday the Protocol to the Special Agreement which will allow the governments of both nations to separately hold public consultations with a view to submitting their territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice.

The signing for the amendment of the Agreement the two governments signed in 2008 took place at the Organization of American States headquarters with Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza attending the ceremony, probably his last act in such a post since on Tuesday 26 May Luis Almagro from Uruguay will be taking over as the new OAS chief. Other participants included the foreign ministers of Guatemala, Carlos Raúl Morales, and Belize, Wilfred Elrington.

In his speech, Secretary General Insulza recalled that the role of facilitator and mediator in the Belize-Guatemala that has been played by the OAS is “one of the most important tasks of the Organization and one to which we have assigned the highest priority in the General Secretariat.”

On his last day in office, the OAS leader said the fact that the ceremony in Guatemala City was his last act at the head of the Organization made him proud, “not only because it addresses the main mandate of the Organization - the peaceful solution of disputes - but because it is the only territorial dispute in the region that the OAS has accompanied continuously for more than fifteen years”.

The leader of the hemispheric Organization recalled that the dispute between the two countries dates back to colonial times, and that for more than one hundred and fifty years there have been numerous attempts to resolve it. In this regard, he recalled that during one of the moments of greatest tension in the bilateral relationship, both nations decided to appeal to the Código HTML Peace Fund of the OAS, established in 2000 as a financial and technical mechanism to help member states to resolve their disputes peacefully.

Since then, there has been progress in confidence-building measures and the establishment of a civilian peacekeeping mission in the only immigration post between the two countries: the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone.

Insulza that when negotiations began it also included Honduras, which shares maritime borders with both countries. During the process, although the parties made significant specific agreements, a consensus was not reached on the maritime issue.

”With this result, OAS recommended that the matter be referred to the International Court of Justice, and in 2008 the foreign ministers of Belize and Guatemala took the most significant step in the history of the dispute by signing the special agreement to submit Guatemala's Territorial, Insular, and Maritime Claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a final decision, opening the way for the first time to a fair, definitive, honorable and permanent solution to the dispute,“ he added.

José Miguel Insulza recalled that the next milestone in the process was the adoption in January 2014 of a roadmap for the strengthening of bilateral relations, as well as an action plan with concrete measures for both Deputy Foreign Ministers, adding that, in December 2014, ”the foreign ministers of Belize and Guatemala, with my guidance and in the presence of all the Heads of State and Government of Central America meeting in Placencia, Belize, in the framework of the Central American Integration System (SICA), signed thirteen bilateral agreements under the coordination of the OAS for the direct benefit of the people of Guatemala and Belize. These agreements, together with the three agreements on security and intelligence that had been adopted three months before in order to strengthen the mechanisms of cooperation to combat illegal activities, including transnational organized crime, reflect the significant progress achieved in the process led by this Organization.“

The achievements reached as a result of the policies implemented cover the areas of defense, culture, migration, transport, social and economic development have been widely recognized by the international community, ”which has not only welcomed the progress in the negotiation process, but has also significantly increased its support to the Belize-Guatemala sub-fund of Peace Fund, which has allowed for the uninterrupted maintenance of the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone,” said Secretary General Insulza.

Secretary General Insulza also recognized the contributions to the Belize-Guatemala sub-fund of the Peace Fund made by the European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Germany, Sweden and the United States, and urged them to continue to support the process until a satisfactory conclusion is reached.


#504618 - 05/27/15 05:57 AM Re: Belize, Guatemala en route to solve dispute [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize And Guatemala Sign Amended Compromis, PUP A No-Show

Ever since it was announced two weeks ago that Government would sign an amended special agreement , or compromis with the Guatemalans in their capital city - we have heard howls of disapproval from COLA, the VIP, and the PUP. But, government was undeterred: it moved ahead with the OAS to sign the agreement yesterday in Guatemala. The government press office was there and Jules Vasquez put together this story:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
Ringed by Volcanic mountains, and a skyline punctuated by high rise buildings Guatemala City melds the colonial and the modern. The central park is shadowed by the magisterial national palace and the metropolitan cathedral.

But the amended special agreement was not signed in this citadel of power but in the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Where before the signing, Belize's CEO Lawrence Sylvester was chatting with Military Attache Lt. Col Anthony Velasquez while Ambassador Stuart Leslie, was conversing with his Guatemalan counterparts.

At 9:30, the proceedings became formal as Secretary General of the OAS Jose Miguel Insulza flanked by Foreign Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Carlos Raul Morales arrived.

In short order, they signed the agreement in front of an oddly designed Belizean flag, they shook on it - and told the gathering why it was necessary:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"The protocol does no more than add an element of flexibility with respect to the time of the holding of each national referendum. The special agreement remains the same in all other respects."

Carlos Raul Morales, Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Why did you make the protocol and why did you sign the protocol today? That is what many journalists has asked me - I told them because we cannot wait more we have lost much time in history, much valuable time. But there are also cultural differences that are preventing simultaneous referendums: In Belize for example the culture is to have elections on a Tuesday, within the week, but in Guatemala, on a Sunday - this is primarily a cultural difference, and which will it be, Belize or Guatemala."

Elrington says that Belize will go shortly after Guatemala:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"The government of Belize is resolve to put the Guatemalan claim behind us as early as possible. Our government is irrevocable committed to being bound by the decision of the Belizean electorate on this claim as manifested in a referendum. It is also irrevocably committed to holding a referendum on the claim at the earliest possible convenient date."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"I can assure you that in fact, certainly the case with Belize, is not going to be much longer now before we hold our referendum and I am assured by the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, my trusted colleague, that in fact, they proposed to go even before us. But the assurance that have been given by our Prime Minister is that it is going to be done shortly thereafter."

And while you will see lots of these flags draping Guatemala's capital the only Belizean flag you'll see is in front of this building where The Embassy of Belize is on the fifteenth floor.

That's where Belize's Ambassador to Guatemala said that Guatemala may not hold the referendum as soon as it hopes due to domestic difficulties:

H.E. Alexis Rosado, Belize's Ambassador To Guatemala
"There's no doubt that the difficulties they are having now might affect whatever interest they had in having it this year."

But, they are determined to have it:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"The Guatemalans for all intents and purposes seem to have no fear of going to the ICJ. They are very positive about it - certainly at the governmental level they are being very aggressive about it. For some inexplicable reason Belizeans seem to be fearful."

And he would lump in the opposition with that group. They should have been in Guatemala for the signing but pulled out:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

"How one can explain that at this point in time the Opposition is disengaging, is beyond me. I can't fathom their reasoning. The point that we have reached today, was put in place by them. In 2007, they concluded that the only way to go is the ICJ. The decision to go to the ICJ was taken by them. We are simply following through. How do you explain that on the most fundamental issue relating to the country you have decided to resile from your position and from the process as a whole?"

But opposition or not, it is signed and both parties keep moving towards a fixed target:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
"All that remains to be done now is for us to educate the Belizean public to prepare them to make a rational decision when the referendum date is announced."

Carlos Raul Morales, Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs
"We have to have faith. We have to have faith that we are advancing step by step to get to the international court of justice. Because Belize and Guatemala are TWO countries that can work together, that can work hard, that can work in a coordinated manner for our common future."

Neither side has yet named a date for a referendum, but as you saw in the story, either side is free to go ahead independent of the other.

The amended agreement was released to the public this evening.

In his speech - his last as Secretary General of the OAS - Jose Miguel Insulza said that the role of mediator in the Belize-Guatemala dispute has been, quote, "one of the most important tasks of the Organization…to which we have assigned the highest priority." End quote.

Channel 7

#504641 - 05/27/15 06:43 PM Re: Belize, Guatemala en route to solve dispute [Re: Marty]
Judyann H. Offline
This was a great source to help simplify the history of this dispute..........

My friends call me Judyann



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