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Apr 15, 2013

Diplomats called home to chart plan for Guatemala issue

otto perez molina

Despite all the offensive actions taken by Guatemala showing that it is keeping the unfounded claim alive, Minister Elrington says his ministry must wait for an official response from the O.A.S. regarding Guatemala’s position regarding the October sixth referendum. Guatemala’s President, Otto Perez Molina, had requested via the O.A.S. that Belize amends the Referendum Act to show a majority vote rather than the current sixty percent voter turnout that is required for it to be binding. Belize has rejected that proposal and is committing to the date. However, there must be a plan. The Foreign Ministry called in most of its ambassadors to work on that alternate plan. Ambassador to Guatemala, Mexico and Britain along with the Minister, his C.E.O. and Chair of the Referendum Commission were amongst those at a Sunday meeting held at Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom. Interestingly, the Ambassador to the U.N. was absent. Elrington says that once the plan is complete, it will be forwarded to the Prime Minister for approval.

 

Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Wilfred Elrington

“We haven’t gotten any formal response from the O.A.S. to the last position which we transmission to them; which was that we did not agree to the Guatemalan proposals. The procedure normally is for us to hear back from the Secretary General of the O.A.S. as to what is Guatemala’s response to that position.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“But knowing that the Guatemalan president, Otto Perez Molina, has said that they essentially are stepping down from this process of the referendum, what then would be our response? What’s the next step for Belize assuming that would come from the O.A.S. eventually?”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“If, in fact, we were informed officially that that is the position of the Guatemalans from the O.A.S., we have put together at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs a kind of roadmap for the Prime Minister and for the Cabinet as to what are our options. And once we get the green light from Cabinet, then we will certainly at liberty to disclose what that is. But at this point in time, we don’t think that it would be proper to disclose it. But we have in fact put together, we are in the process of putting together a roadmap for the guidance of our Prime Minister on that matter.”

 

Jules Vasquez, Channel 7

“The quote from the president this is last week—the quote that is quoted in the Prensa Libre: “If Belize does not accept, we will not go to a referendum and waste two hundred and sixty million quetzals on something that going in, we know we will not win.”

 

Wilfred Elrington

“Their interest seems to be to get a yes vote to go to the ICJ, which is very encouraging for me because it suggests that they would like to have it resolved through that process, which I have always maintained is the best process. So if that is their rational for not wanting to go at this time, it certainly something that our government would have to discuss and debate and make a decision on. But the good thing about it is that they seem to be committed to having the matter resolved through the ICJ, which is the position that we have taken very publicly and we took that long ago.”

 

A meeting between Belize and Guatemala under the auspices of the O.A.S. is expected to be held shortly in Washington.

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