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May 19, 2016

The Opposition Will Be Represented at Istanbul Talks

Very high level delegations from Belize and Guatemala will be meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday to discuss the Sarstoon. That’s the venue slated for the talks surrounding what has become a key factor in the bi-lateral road ahead. Tensions in the Sarstoon are at an all-time high – actually to the point where even the B.D.F. are being harassed by the Guatemalan Armed Forces, and G.O.B. has passed a law prohibiting civilians entry to the river. So the meeting this Saturday is critical. There was no Opposition representative at the last bi-lateral meeting because…well, they weren’t invited. But this time is different. Today, P.U.P. Leader John Briceño told News Five today that the Opposition will be sending a representative to Istanbul because where this issue is concerned, it is important that Belize speak with one voice.

 

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“The meeting in Istanbul is a very important meeting. It is the first official meeting we are going to have between Belize and Guatemala after the talks broke down when they presented their version of the protocols, something that we totally one hundred percent object to in the P.U.P.  So now that they have decided that they have the opportunity to meet again in the next few days, we will send a representative and our representative as I mentioned before is Senator Eamon Courtenay and I think that he will be travelling tomorrow to join the team.”

 

John Briceño

Reporter

“Sir last week when the Prime Minister gave his press conference he used words like cautious optimism. He said there had been a breakthrough in the talks that Minister Elrington had held with Carlos Raul Morales. I understand that there was a deal that you were to briefed as well as Eamon Courtenay was to have been briefed on those meetings. After being briefed do you share his sense of cautious optimism?”

 

John Briceño

“I think that we need to look at it from the perspective of the Guatemalans. Guatemala is having major internal problems and as usual they try to use this issue of wanting to take over Belize to divert attention from their real problems. We know that tens of thousands of Guatemalans have been on the streets protesting the government. They have pretty much a failed government. Does that lead us to be cautiously optimistic? Well whenever there are talks there has to be some sense of optimism, just the idea that we are talking. And I think we are starting to put across very strongly our position that what the Guatemalans are doing is wrong, that there has never been a protocol as to what they claim that the B.D.F. needs to ask permission to go on the Sarstoon, so just the idea that we are talking I think there’s some sense of optimism.”

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