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Mar 17, 2017

Belize, Guatemala break deadlock with recent meeting

There was a meeting earlier this week between Belize and Guatemala’s Foreign Ministers. The last time they met was in June 2016 at the O.A.S. Headquarters in Washington when tensions built up considerably over the Guatemalan’s presence in the Sarstoon. But before that, relations soured following the death of thirteen-year-old Guatemalan Julio Rene Alvarado in April 2016 near Cebada in western Belize. Even though a panel of experts has declared that the Belize Defense Force did not shoot the young boy as the Guatemalans have claimed, they are insisting on a second investigation. Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington told the press today that he had travelled to Guatemala to meet with Carlos Raul Morales. The specific location of that meeting remains unconfirmed but it took place while the O.A.S. Secretary General Luis Almagro was in Guatemala City. The encounter was in the making for some months, according to Elrington, but we note that it did not take place in Belize even though the Secretary General was heading this way. The Foreign Minister explains.

 

Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Wilfred Elrington

“We met.  We thought it was an excellent opportunity, our ambassador in Washington, Ambassador Andrews had arranged for this visit.  We worked on it for some months and we were finally able to get it and we took the opportunity while the SG was in Guatemala, for us to be over there, to be fully briefed to what is going on in Guatemala because that is of the utmost interest to us too.  We were briefed by the Guatemalan foreign minister on the situation there.  We were briefed both in terms of the political situation and how far they have reached in terms of the ICJ and then we were briefed by the SG of the OAS in terms of what is the situation with the funding for the Adjacency Zone office and their own continued interest to help us in the process.  The issue was raised as well on how we were able to handle the issue of the death of the child and the investigations that took place subsequent thereto, and then I took the opportunity to brief them on where we are in terms of our process.  You know we were able to amend the Referendum Act to get it passed through the National Assembly and we are contemplating going for re-registration.  I made that clear to them as well, and so that was the basis of that meeting that we had.  Present at the meeting was myself and Alexis Rosado, Ambassador to Guatemala.  The Guatemalans and their ambassador to Belize.”

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