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Jul 24, 2015

Minister of National Security Weighs in on Sarstoon F.O.B.

The construction of a forward operating base on the mainland, at the mouth of the Sarstoon River, has been the latest issue on the discussion table between Belize and Guatemala. It follows a memo from Guatemala that it was not comfortable with the Belize government proposal to build the military base on an area, which is, according to them, under dispute and that Belize should wait until a decision is taken at the International Court of Justice before proceeding with any such construction. In May of this year, there was a confrontation between members of the Belize National Coast Guard and the Guatemalan Navy on Sarstoon Island, which is well within Belizean territory; the local officers were ordered to be extracted. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington has indicated that discussions will be held with his Guatemalan counterpart to address this issue, much to the ire of the Belizean people. Today, Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, chimed in on the matter.

 

John Saldivar

John Saldivar, Minister of National Security

“As you are all well aware, we have informed the Guatemalan government about our intention to place a forward operating base there. They have asked us to consult, to dialogue about this. That I believe is ongoing and in a very short time, our government will continue with its decision as to where we will be placing that forward operating base somewhere on the Sarstoon. When we stop to dialogue, when we stop to talk, when we stop to consult, it is not that we are decreasing our obligation to protect the integrity and sovereignty of our country. When we stop to talk, it is not that we are abdicating our responsibility to protect the integrity, the territorial integrity, of our country, but that is what civilized countries and civilized peoples do when there is conflict and when there is need to talk. But at no time will our government abdicate our responsibility to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country. And I do believe that once the consultations are over and I know once the consultations are over, we will proceed to do what is in the best interest of our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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