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Apr 11, 2016

Ambassador Assad Shoman Discusses Guatemala Issue at O.A.S. Meeting

Last Friday, our News Five team camped out under a “hammans” tree outside O.A.S. Office in the adjacency zone for hours. Inside were top diplomats from Belize and Guatemala, Foreign Affairs Ministers Wilfred Elrington and Carlos Raul Morales. They were joined by top military commanders for both countries, General David Jones and General Carlos Eduardo Estrada Perez; C.E.O. Lawrence Sylvestre, Ambassadors Assad Shoman, Alexis Rosado and Manuel Roldan Barillas, and assorted officials from both countries and the Organization of American States. It was an extremely high-level meeting to discuss a critical issue – rules of engagement in the Sarstoon, following a spate of incidents between the B.D.F. and the G.A.F., and even civilians and the G.A.F.  Late Friday evening as discussions wrapped up, our team was invited into the O.A.S. Office for an impromptu conference. Ambassador Assad Shoman, the Opposition’s representative, was actually the only person in the room who mentioned the burning issue on the table while we were present.

 

Assad Shoman

Assad Shoman, Opposition Representative, Belize Delegation [File: April 8th, 2016]

“Progress was made in attempting to come together in that issue but of course something as complicated as that cannot happen in one day so that the Guatemalan side will of course take that document back. We will hear back from Ambassador Rosado and the General who were at that meeting to know what the concerns of the Guatemalans are and so on. Within a few days we can’t put an exact date on it, the foreign Minister has to meet with the President…we have to meet with our principals here as well. Within a few days we have to come back and be able then to come up with way for peaceful use and natural harmony to exist in the Sarstoon, That is our objective, the generals have both spoken here among us and said that they want peace…that they will remain in close and constant contact with each other. By telephone or whichever means is necessary to ensure that this understanding that there must be peace will percolate down to all the ranks and right down to the elements that are present along the Sarstoon. So we leave here with hope that there will be peace and that soon we will come back and be able to sign on to some document that will declare the modus on the Sarstoon when there is a definitive resolution on the claim.”

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