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May 28, 2015

Foreign Ministers Discuss Absence of Opposition from Signing of Compromis Amendments

As you know by now, for the first time the Opposition party is not taking part in the process toward finding a definitive solution to the territorial dispute with Guatemala. At Monday’s signing of an amendment to the Special Agreement in Guatemala City, the P.U.P. representative was conspicuously absent on an issue that is of significant national importance and which has always enjoyed a bipartisan approach, regardless of which party is in office.  In exclusive interviews, we asked both the Guatemalan Foreign Minister and the Belize Foreign Minister what is the next step without the opposition. Here are their responses.

 

Marleni Cuellar

“The Opposition in Belize has indicated that they are not onboard; they will not be attending tomorrow’s signing. The negotiation process has a bipartisan process from the beginning and it has been one of the greatest points that either party has made. How do you feel knowing that the Opposition in Belize is not onboard with this particular amendment?”

 

Carlos Raul Morales

Carlos Raul Morales, Foreign Minister, Guatemala

“I cannot give an opinion of the domestic politics in Belize because I am Guatemalan of course and I cannot give an opinion. But what I can assure you is that since we are negotiating these agreements with Belize, the Opposition has been there and has been onboard a lot. I think this is a political situation in Belize and we have to focus….”

 

Marleni Cuellar

“Historically it has been a bipartisan process. The engagement has been from both sides—for the lack of a better term—it has been working up until this point. What happens now? is there going to be a reengagement process?”

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Foreign Minister, Belize

“Maybe we could ask one of the ambassadors to answer that. I would be speculating. I don’t know…the, the…”

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

Marleni Cuellar

“Isn’t it necessary to be able to have the major opposition party in the country back on board with the process?”

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

“Well I think any mature person or country dealing with a matter of national importance, dealing with perhaps the most important national interest would want to have everybody on board; not only the Opposition. This is an existential issue; this is determining our sovereignty, our territorial integrity, our security—a matter which ought to be of the utmost concern to every single Belizean. How one can explain that at this point in time the Opposition is disengaging is beyond me. I cannot 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. They gave authority to Secretary General Insulza to recommend this process. Now that he has recommended the process and we have embarked on the process, they are resilient on the position. And I have not heard a rational explanation for it.”

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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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