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Apr 18, 2018

It’s Time to Separate Bilateral Relations from Claim Issue

Sandra Jovel Polanco

With Belize’s referendum date not set, and a potential trip to The Hague still a few years away, Belize and Guatemala must continue to co-exist as neighbors and tackle important issues together. We asked Foreign Minister Jovel to outline her priorities, and she said the most important is untangling the issue of the dispute from the rest of Belize’s bilateral relations with Guatemala. The first must be a priority to resolve, but the other, she argued, is even more important. As to the possibility of a no vote, she noted that it would be a setback, but would not hamper Guatemala’s own momentum.


Sandra Jovel Polanco, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guatemala (Translated)

“Two issues: we need to separate the issue of the territorial and maritime dispute from the issue of bilateral relations. They are two different things. What is important is once the first issue is involved, the bilateral relations will be strengthened. That will allow us to reach a point where we will have an excellent business, social and cultural relationship and have that openness between our two brotherly countries.  We will continue with our process. We hope that does not happen in Belize because that would be a setback for the process you are undertaking; the idea is for us to move forward. Our next step is to start working by gathering all our documents, make the necessary announcements and wait for Belize to give us a positive response so that we both can resolve our dispute.”


According to Jovel Polanco, further meetings between the countries are scheduled to conclude ratification of two or three remaining bilateral agreements made in 2013, as well as to the O.A.S. to report on the result of the Guatemalan referendum.

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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