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Mar 14, 2016

PM Acknowledges Need for Real Protocols to Govern Sarstoon Area

Dean Barrow

While Belize has operated on the premise that at least half of the Sarstoon is sovereign territory, the Guatemalans claim that the Sarstoon, and much more than the Sarstoon is theirs. Neither side is willing to abandon its position. But recent events show that Guatemala is quite prepared to step forward aggressively, and PM Barrow says that more than anything this highlights the need for real protocols to govern the Sarstoon, sooner rather than later.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Our note of protest makes clear that we maintain our position with respect to our sovereignty over our portion of the Sarstoon as demarcated by the 1859 Treaty. Their response also makes clear that they maintain their position, which is to claim sovereignty over the entirety of the Sarstoon. In the same way as they are protocols to deal with other sensitive border areas and the modalities for handling potential flashpoints, it is our view that there must be similar protocols to govern the Sarstoon; otherwise, ultimately, inevitably, there is going to be a problem.  They’re not going to relinquish their position; we sure as hell are not going to relinquish ours. We have said to Belizeans it is a matter for the government and the military to maintain our assertion of sovereignty. There is no doubt in my mind that the stepping up in Guatemalan rhetoric, the ratcheting up of their position is directly related to all that has taken place with respect to the Sarstoon and the visits and expeditions and excursions…well-meaning on the part of civilians’ design to assist the military—which needs no assistance—in terms of Belize’s position.”

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