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Feb 5, 2018

O.A.S. names Uruguayan lawyer/politico to guard adjacency zone

Manuel Washington Abdala

Uruguayan lawyer and politician Manuel Washington Abdala has been personally selected by O.A.S. Secretary General Luis Almagro to succeed Magdalena Talamas at the organization’s office at the Adjacency Zone.  Abdala was a national representative for the Colorado Party from 1995 to 2010, along with Jorge Batlle, the elected President of the Republic of Uruguay. Abdala’s most recent stint is in television and comedy. Neither foreign ministers for Belize and Guatemala were consulted during that process, but both countries place confidence in the decision by the Secretary General. Talamas’ departure in December last year after several years of being posted at the O.A.S., was prompted by strong opposition and complaint from the Guatemalan government, following the results of an inquiry into the shooting death of Guatemalan minor Julio Alvarado Ruano. Guatemala has rejected the findings of the investigation, despite Talamas’ subsequent pronouncement on the report.

 

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Wilfred Elrington

“Ms. Talamas’ replacement is a man by the name of Manuel Washington Abdala.  He is, among other things, a seasoned politician out of Uruguay and he’s going to be the special representative to the Secretary General in relation to the Belize/Guatemala issue.  He is going to report directly to the Secretary General.  He is the official of the Secretary General, specially handpicked by him and he has a lot of confidence in Mr. Abdala.  Both Belize and Guatemala had expressed to him our own preference to have been consulted before to have seen more about him, to have learned more about him before his appoint was made, but that was not necessarily done.  So we’ve got to place great trust and reliance on his word and just to see how this new appointment will work out.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Have you had a chance to meet Mr. Abdala or are there plans for him to visit Belize in the near future?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“There are plans for him to visit the country within the next two weeks and there are also tentative plans for the Guatemalan foreign minister at that time to make a formal visit to the Adjacency Zone as well.  Hopefully she would be able to come in and visit our prime minister at that time, but the plans are still being worked on.  They are evolving.  But she has not visited the Adjacency Zone before, she has not visited it.”

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