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Mar 15, 2016

Guatemala Says Belize’s Account of Sarstoon Incident is a Lie!

Tonight, an impasse between Belize and Guatemala remains in place following an incident involving members of the Belize Defense Force and the Guatemalan Navy near the mouth of the Sarstoon River, at the site of a forward operating base on the Belizean side of the estuary.  After the GAF confronted the B.D.F., Belize sent a protest note to Guatemala. That was met with a fast and furious reaction from Guatemala. First, the Guatemalan ministry called the report by the B.D.F. on the weekend confrontation a lie and went further to boldly assert sovereignty over the Sarstoon. Here is the Guatemala’s response in its entirety; “On March eleventh, a B.D.F. boat, without following the protocol of security usually implemented on the Sarstoon River, came into Guatemalan internal waters on the mentioned river and navigated by the south of the mentioned river.  On March twelfth, contact was established via radio with the B.D.F. to indicate to them that they have to abide by protocols of security habitually followed on the Sarstoon River. They were informed that when they traversed the river they had damaged a gill net, property of a Guatemalan resident. Communication was met with insults from the B.D.F.   At no time was there any provocation from the Guatemalan authorities toward those on the Belizean boat who were asked to continue to use the security protocols normally used in respect of the Sarstoon River. For this reason, the Ministry considers that it is a lie to say that the Guatemalan officials behaved in a manner that is threatening and hostile, when the only issue that was sought was to ask the crew on the Belizean boat to follow the security protocols normally implemented on the Sarstoon. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms one more time, that the Sarstoon River belongs to Guatemala and until a territorial, insular and maritime dispute between the two countries  is settled definitively by the International Court of Justice, the government of the Republic will continue to exercise and defend  its sovereignty as it has done up until now.”

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