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Apr 11, 2016

Will Guatemala Change Its Position on Sarstoon?

Wilfred Elrington

A resolution within days may be a matter easier said than done. Guatemala maintains that the Sarstoon is theirs, and in a recent diplomatic note stated that they will continue to assert that sovereignty over what is theirs. They have done just that. While diplomats from both countries sip tea and share anecdotes, the G.A.F. has started to aggressively control the Sarstoon, going so far as to trespass openly in traditionally Belizean waters to confront B.D.F. soldiers at the Forward Operating Base. Since soldiers follow orders and implement policies formulated by the highest levels of government, any change in the Sarstoon would need to come from government in Guatemala. Will that happen? Will Guatemala suddenly reverse its stance on the Sarstoon? On Friday both top diplomats said a lot, but said nothing concrete really where the Sarstoon protocol is concerned.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs [File: April 8th, 2016]

“It will be recalled that in March we had went to Washington to discuss the various instances that were troubling the Belizean public in relation to activities in the Sarstoon River. And at that time of the discussion with the Guatemalan counterpart we had agreed that we will try to meet as quickly as possible after the Easter vacation to try to further the discussion. So this meeting was to doff that and at the same time we decided that we will in fact try to deal with other issues which we have on a bilateral basis between the two countries.”


Carlos Raul Morales

Carlos Raul Morales, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guatemala

“We are here today to continue building a new relation between Guatemala and Belize. Minster Elrington and myself, Minster Morales we are aware that we have a goal and the goals is to have the best relation between both countries. We know we have a differendum and the differendum has to be sent to the ICJ but in the mean time we have to build a very good relation between both countries and we have to avoid any kind of incidents between both countries. This is the most important, we have a very good neighborhood and the idea is to work together because we are going to be neighbors forever. Definitely there are many challenges to face, but we have the good will to continue working together and we will have these kinds of meetings, we are having these kinds of meetings just instruct the joint commission that is led by the Guatemalan Ambassador Rosado to continue with the work to strengthen the bilateral relation. I mean the implementation of the 13 bilateral agreements. We are working very hard, I am very happy because General Perez who is the Chief Commander of the Guatemalan Army is here with General Jones of the Belize Defense Force talking about the bilateral relation and how we can avoid any kind of incidents.”


We note that last year, Belize agreed and signed off to delink the date of the referendum between the two countries. But Guatemala is yet to receive congressional approval for the referendum to be held separately. 

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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2 Responses for “Will Guatemala Change Its Position on Sarstoon?”

  1. Belizean Pride says:

    Excuse us Mr. Morales we Belizeans don’t want to go to ICJ since we have nothing more to discuss Belize is Belize take it or leave it. You keep singing that and when time comes for the referendum we will vote against it. So get it clear one time.

  2. Spike says:

    Bring back the British.

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