O.A.S.’ Almagro commits to settling Guat claim ‘by law’
Now to the visit of Secretary General Luis Almagro. Prior to his arrival in Belize, Ambassador Almagro was in neighboring Guatemala where he also met with high-level government officials in that country. While there, a meeting with foreign ministers Elrington and Morales was held to apprise the Sec Gen on the latest developments between both countries in respect of the pending referenda. Aside from meeting the P.M. and others, Almagro was able to appreciate the breadth of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve by air when he was taken on a flyover of the vast protected area but did not meet with communities as he did in Guatemala. The Chiquibul remains an area of contention where incursions by Guatemalan poachers continue to take place. This morning, Almagro made a statement to the press but did not take questions.
Luis Almagro, Secretary General, OAS
“This visit was agreed between the two countries, coordinated by the two countries, Belize and Guatemala. We have had official meetings and meetings with the civil society. Yesterday we had a meeting with Prime Minister Barrow, with Minister Elrington and during those meetings we discussed various aspects of the ongoing process that is being mediated by the OAS and we agreed that we will continue to work diligently towards finding a peaceful permanent solution to the territorial dispute. Different aspects of these relations that we talked about yesterday, some of them were related to implementing mechanisms of consultations to avoid or for better management of incidents. The need to go on ahead with referendum as early as possible and that will allow us to take the case to the International Court of Justice. The need to work together about the agreements that were signed by both countries, strengthening the dynamics of bilateral cooperation related to the development of better conditions for education, cultural affairs, environment and security between Belize and Guatemala. The need to ensure justice according to the investigations and to find those responsible for those incidents that have happened in the Adjacency Zone. Why are we strengthening the case of going to the ICJ? Because we all have to believe and we believe especially that the solutions should be according to law and according to rights. We cannot pretend to solve conflicts by ignoring the rights of others or rolling over the rights of others.”