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May 22, 2015

Looking Back… When The Compromis Was Signed In 2008

The signing of an amendment to the 2008 Special Agreement is proceeding as planned in Guatemala City this coming Monday. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington and his Guatemalan counterpart Carlos Raul Morales will sign the agreement but for the first time the opposition will not participate. The amendment results in a significant and fundamental change to the way both countries are to proceed in respect of holding referenda on whether the territorial dispute will be taken to the International Court of Justice. When it is signed, Guatemala will be able to hold a separate poll and during an election, which is contrary to what was intended when the document was first signed. Tonight we go back to December eighth, 2008 when the compris was penned at the OAS in Washington, DC. Here’s that story with William Neal.

 

William Neal

“I am standing on the stairs of the O.A.S. building in Washington D.C. where representatives from Belize and Guatemala spent the morning working on a special historic moment, the signing of a compromise or special agreement… an agreement that many hope will be the beginning of the end of the age-long dispute between the two countries.”

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Wilfred Elrington

“This marks a major milestone in the ongoing efforts to settle this aged dispute. Signing of this special agreement is a manifestation of a deep commitment on the part of the Government of Belize to put this claim behind us. We Belizeans have always maintained that Guatemalan claim in unjust and wrong but while having recognised Belize’s independence and the right of its people to self-domination, refused to acknowledge Belize’s territorial integrity and the inviolability of its border. We are not at that crossroad, having exhausted negotiation efforts, we are at that stage where we must contemplate submitting our case to legal scrutiny by the highest judicial order of the United Nations. Belize and Guatemala must first decide through a referendum whether they approve of this process. I have every confidence in my colleague, Minister Haroldo Rodas, when he assures me that his government likewise is also committed to this. We know that our people do not wish to live in hostility and resentment toward each other.”

 

Haroldo Rodas

Haroldo Rodas, Foreign Minister, Guatemala

“Both governments have accepted the recommendations of the secretary general and have now begun a process of preparation and discussions which ended in the signing of this special agreement in search for a final solution to the claim. It is historic because we are taking a decision to settle our dispute with Belize and we are beginning a process that independently of the results the people of both countries will be on the same page at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“It’s a matter of life and death for us in Belize, trying to get this to the I.C.J.; I personally believe that. All members of my government may not believe that but I can’t see us surviving as a viable nation without having had a definite pronouncement of our western border by the International Court of Justice. So I think it is necessary that we go to the I.C.J.”

 

William Neal

“The signing of the special agreement between the Belize and Guatemalan governments has been hailed as a great show of political will by both parties. However, the greatest challenge still lies ahead and that is to engage the public through a public education strategy that will not only have them voting in a referendum, but have them voting yes to take the case to the International Court of Justice for a final solution. Reporting live from Washington D.C., I am William Neal for News Five.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Looking Back… When The Compromis Was Signed In 2008”

  1. kmh says:

    So maybe this will remind Mr Elrington of his previous commitment to his country. seems he has sold out somewhere along the way.

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