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Jul 30, 2015

4 Former Foreign Ministers Dispute Guatemala Assertion

Carlos Raul Morales

Did the Foreign Minister of Guatemala Carlos Raul Morales misspeak at a press conference at the Radisson on Tuesday? In his presentation, Morales told the media that there was an agreement not to build any other military bases. That response came when the media asked him about the Guatemalan’s objection to the construction of a forward operating base near the Sarstoon River by the Belize Coast Guard. Today a joint statement was issued by four former P.U.P. foreign ministers, including former PM Said Musa, Eamon Courtenay, Godfrey Smith and Lisa Shoman, denied that claim by Morales. In their statement, the former foreign ministers say, “We wish to categorically state the following in response to the assertions of the Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Carlos Raul Morales that Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) signed by Guatemala with Belize in 2000 and in 2005, “took the decision to not increase the military bases in the vicinity of both countries.” For context we go to the comments made by Morales.

 

Carlos Raul Morales, Foreign Minister, Guatemala [File: July 27th, 2015]

“Our commitment is to not build another military base after the signature of this instrument. It was signed in 2000. Then we agreed, and Belize did it and Guatemala did it too, with respect to all the military bases, we have until that moment…and this is why we didn’t remove – this is the only one, I think the other one is in Melchor de Mencos. But what we are doing is we are trying to implement this very important agreement which we signed in 2000. And we are, Guatemala and Belize, respecting that agreement that we signed in 2000.”

 

In the statement issued by the four former foreign ministers, it was pointed out that neither the 2000, nor the 2005 instruments on the CBMs between Guatemala and Belize contained anything at all about military bases in either country, and that no agreement or decision was made with Guatemala between 1998 to 2008 with respect to increasing or removing military bases in either Belize or Guatemala. 

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