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Jun 1, 2015

Elrington Says PM diffused Sarstoon StandOff

Wilfred Elrington

n another pressing issue; on Thursday there was a confrontation between Coast Guard personnel and a Guatemalan naval patrol on an island in the Sarstoon. The Coast Guard was there on a reconnaissance mission for a possible forward operating base, when they were approached by a Guatemalan vessel and ordered out of the waters. Our soldiers stood their ground, even when a second, larger Guatemalan vessel joined the first, and that led to a twenty-six hour stand-off which ended at midday Friday. The incident is shocking because it happened in an area clearly identified as Belizean territory. Foreign Minister Elrington was, incidentally, in Guatemala when the incursion occurred, but over the weekend News Five caught up with him at a political event and got his perspective on the matter.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“I was in Guatemala when we were informed in Guatemala that the Belizeans were on this island in the Sarstoon and they were being circled by the Guatemalans. And we were informed also that they had informed the Guatemalans that they had been given instructions to stay there for about ten days. Later on we were contacted by the Guatemalans who told us that they were not aware of what was going on and they were in fact circling the island…they did not know what was the intention of the Belizeans there. I then got in touch with the Guatemalan Foreign Minister. He was trying to reach me actually and when he reached me he told me basically what was going on. And I told him that it was something we had to look into. Shortly after I spoke to the Prime Minister…we apprised him of what the situation was and he said he was going to look into it. And by the following day the matter was resolved.”

 

Reporter

“When you say resolved you mean resolved how Sir?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“My understanding is that the Belizean contingent moved off the island at about twelve that day and that defused the situation.”

 

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