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Apr 30, 2008

Reports say Guatemala willing to go to World Court

The Guatemalan claim to Belize: Although often left to simmer on the public’s back burner, it remains the number one issue on our foreign policy plate. Foreign media reports say that during official meetings in Washington DC earlier this week, Guatemalan President Alavaro Colom indicated that his government will seek voter approval to have the issue settled in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Colom’s decision was reportedly taken after Belize announced that it was also considering obtaining a ruling by I.C.J. It is now up to both countries to have the public sign off on the matter. The Guatemalan constitution dictates that a proposal would have to be approved by their Congress before a referendum is held. In speaking with Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexis Rosado this afternoon, he indicated that Belmopan is committed to keeping the issue bi-partisan and would promote full and meaningful public discussion of the topic prior to any referendum. Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington returned to Belize today from an official visit to Washington D.C. where he discussed the Guatemalan claim with Secretary General of the O.A.S., Jose Miguel Insulza. The primary purpose of Elrington’s trip was to participate in the seventh annual meeting of Ministers of Justice or Attorneys General of the Americas. At a separate meeting for A.G.s from Mexico, Central America and Colombia, U.S. Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, presented what’s called the Merida Initiative, a U.S. funded plan to provide equipment and training to support regional law enforcement. The U.S. congress is considering a request by President George Bush to provide funding for the project which earmarks five hundred million U.S. dollars for Mexico and fifty million for Central America, including Belize.

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