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Sep 19, 2018

Belize Sends Protest Note to Guatemala

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent a protest note to Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the two recent encounters between the Belize Territorial Volunteers and the GAF.  The incidents happened this past Friday and Saturday when the BTV went out scouting and conducting their Sarstoon Island Eco Challenge which is a kayak competition to raise awareness of the territorial dispute. As we reported since Monday, the GAF blocked and prevented the BTV from navigating the Sarstoon River when they were clearly within Belize’s territory.  In the note, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it, “once again, protests in the strongest terms this blatant violation of Belize’s territorial integrity caused by the incursion of uniformed and armed members of the Guatemalan Army into Belizean waters, their unfriendly and their illegal prevention of the right of Belizean vessels and citizens to peacefully and freely navigate the Sarstoon River.”  It goes on to point out that the deliberate actions of the GAF to violate territorial integrity also intimidate, harass and endanger Belizeans safety, calling the actions “ unfriendly”  and “provocative” that counters the friendly relations the two countries are seeking to build. The ministry also calls on the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry to instruct its army to desist from its threatening and provocative behavior.  Today, when Minister Wilfred Elrington spoke with the media, he says that the protest note had to be sent because the actions of the GAF were out of order:

 

Wilfred Elrington

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We send protest note routinely. As a matter of fact, in the case of this one, we didn’t only send the protest note, but we are also closely in contact with the opposition on it. Because clearly the Guatemalans were wrong to do what they did, there is no doubt about that, they were wrong. But two wrongs don’t make a right. And in that wrong that they did, unless you are very careful, you can spark a situation that you can’t control. It is not that what they are doing from time to time is wrong, we know. But you have to manage crisis, because it can always get worse. Would you have wanted the B.D.F or the Coast Guard, personally, to have entered into conflict with the Guatemalans? Would you have wanted to see military action between the two of them? Is that what you would have wanted? Is it your view that that was beyond contemplation or beyond a possibility? No.”

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