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Jun 7, 2016

Foreign Minister Weighs in on State of Affairs at Sarstoon

On May twenty-seventh, just days after the Istanbul talks and word of an informal agreement allowing untrammeled access to the Sarstoon, Guatemalan Armed Forces refused to allow access to News Five. But more than that, Guatemalan officials informed Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that they were unhappy with G.O.B.’s release mentioning that so-called informal understanding. So then what really is the situation with the Sarstoon? Is it still a wait and see scenario?


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The Prime Minister, as far as I knew, articulated what was our understanding at the meeting in Istanbul. You see the entire reason for us meeting with the Guatemalans over the past months is to ensure that we will work on a mechanism whereby Belizeans—military as well as civilians—can use the Sarstoon as of right without hindrance. In the past months when I had been advising people against going, it was because I was fearful that if there weren’t, there could be an accident and people could get hurt. So the effort that we have been expending is completely with a view to trying to ensure that nobody would get hurt. And so we work with the Guatemalans to that end. Now the Guatemalans have their own problem; just like how we have people in Belize who get all bent up just at the sight of me, just at hearing my voice. Well you have people in Guatemala who get all bent up just at the sight of Belizeans in the river or seeing people ingressing and egressing the river. And some of them are powerful so that they bring pressure to bear on their government and their government responds in a certain way. But ultimately what has to prevail is our international law rights…our rights under international law. And our rights under international law, as far as we know, give us to right of ingress and egress on the river and we cannot not protect that right.”


Wilfred Elrington


“So then what, as you understand it right now, as of today, is the prevailing rule on the river?”


Wilfred Elrington

“My understanding, as of today, is that we continue to use it without let or hindrance and in the meantime we are working on a formal mechanism in the event of any untoward incident taking place, we have a way to resolve it harmoniously.”

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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1 Response for “Foreign Minister Weighs in on State of Affairs at Sarstoon”

  1. Manuel Pinto says:

    El río Sarstún no es negociable, el artículo I del tratado de 1859, estable que el límite sur de Belice es el río Sarstún, o sea es límite únicamente de Belice, porque de Guatemala es parte de su territorio, el tratado de 1859, no le otorga a Belice derecho de navegación sobre el río Sarstún, como tampoco le otorga soberanía sobre ninguna parte del río Sarstún, el río Sartún esta bajo soberanía de Guatemala. Belice esta tergiversando el artículo VI del tratado de 1859, que se refiere a los límites marítimos en los canales e islas que se encuentran frente a las costas de Belice. el artículo VI del tratado de 1859, regula: Se establece la libre navegación en los canales que forman la linea de agua divisoria de los límites, así como la asignación de islas en esos canales. Esta claro este artículo no se refiere al río Sarstún porque el río Sarstún, no tiene canales como tampoco tiene islas. Se refiere a limite marítimo frente a las costas de Belice.

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