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Sep 28, 2001

Guat. Ambassador: border dispute must be settled

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In mid-July of this year, delegations from both Belize and Guatemala met in Washington as part of the negotiating process aimed primarily at settling the border dispute between the two countries. On Thursday night’s One on One, Guatemalan Ambassador Jorge Skinner-Klee took the chair across from host Dickie Bradley and the two soon found themselves in a spirited debate. According to the ambassador, Guatemala’s persistence in this matter is mandated by the country’s constitution, which states that the border dispute must be settled.

Dickie Bradley

“In this day and age, you can look at on your brother, your weaker smaller, defenceless brother and say I want half of what you have.”

Jorge Skinner-Klee, Guatemalan Ambassador to Belize

“Don’t you trust your cause?”

Dickie Bradley

“Of course!”

Jorge Skinner-Klee

“Let’s resolve it.”

Dickie Bradley

“But that does not in anyway negate that you are doing a bad thing to us by persisting in a claim, which…what is the end game of this method? What happens if you succeed?”

Jorge Skinner-Klee

“It’s co-habitation, that’s the end game. Look at all of this hemisphere, the United States had a quarrel with Canada in the George’s Bank. Canada won. Chile had with Argentina over sixty sore points, there’s only one pending.”

Dickie Bradley

“The most ticklish one.”

Jorge Skinner-Klee

“No, the Beagle Channel was solved by the pope.”

Dickie Bradley

“Nicaragua?”

Jorge Skinner-Klee

“Nicaragua and Costa Rica are still at it, San Juan River. Honduras and El Salvador went to a court, it’s settled”

Dickie Bradley

“Guyana.”

Jorge Skinner-Klee

“Take an example there, it’s settled. There is no more money for negotiating teams, there is no more politics, there is no more posturing, there is no more wolf crying. It is over and that’s what we’re looking for. Do we want to condemn future generations to the same mind-boggling and certainly resource-draining claim? No. Guatemala does not stand to gain by just posturing. This is something we really believe in. Now there are some Guatemalans who sympathise fully with Belizeans, some Guatemalans who say we should do this and others, do that. And I would just point out the fact that our constitution has evolved. 1945, the constitution said “Belize is ours.” 1956, the constitution said again that and so did in 1965. Here comes 1985 and the constitution has a transitory article at the end saying “The State of Guatemala should do everything in its power to resolve the situation of its rights.” It does not say Belize is ours. But it’s still a mandate and that’s why we have to sweat it out, the most amicably, peacefully, openly with transparency that is that we can do it.”

If you missed the show, a replay of this week’s One on One will be aired at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday right here on Channel 5.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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