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Sep 22, 2017

Foreign Minister Reports to U.N.

Wilfred Elrington

This afternoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington addressed the United Nations. Last year, he earned rave reviews for a speech he gave in New York at the General Assembly debate, in which he sharply took on Guatemala.  At the time, he was critical of their rejection of an independent report clearing soldiers of the Belize Defence Force of involvement in the shooting death of a Guatemalan teenager in the Chiquibul.  This year’s address was more by-the-book with references to Belize’s domestic issues and support issued for regional partners including Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and others. Addressing the Guatemalan claim, Elrington reiterated that the United Nations is an instrument of maintaining peace between the neighbors. He said that peace will continue with efforts to resolve the claim at the International Court of Justice and through diplomatic negotiations over the Sarstoon Protocol.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Likewise, when Belize’s territorial integrity was at stake, Belize turned to the UN to defend its sovereignty over its land and for as long as we have been a dutiful Member State, we have had peace. We want that peace to endure and so we have taken every measure to bring Guatemala to the table of justice in respect of its unfounded claim on our territory. Belize and Guatemala agreed in 2008, subject to the will of both our peoples, to refer the Guatemalan claim to Belize territory to the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of this organization. Both Belize and Guatemala are poised to conduct the requisite referenda to obtain the consent of our peoples. In the meantime, we continue, and with the full support of the Organization of American States, to take a constructive approach to the bilateral relations and to maintaining peace along the borders. Belize remains committed to working with Guatemala to finalize a cooperation mechanism for the Sarstoon River in order to minimize the potential of tensions or incidents along Belize’s southern border.”

 

Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales spoke on Tuesday, September nineteenth.

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