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Oct 1, 2019

FM Elrington Addresses the UN: Gives Update on Belize/Guatemala Dispute

Wilfred Elrington

The General Debate at the United Nations started on September twenty-fourth and has now concluded. On Saturday, Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington addressed the assembly; at the end of his statement, Elrington spoke of the Guatemalan claim to Belize which by way of a referendum in May is now before the International Court of Justice for resolution. He provided an update of what was taking place on the ground in southern Belize.


Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Belize

“As we comply with the requirements of pursuing the case before the I.C.J. and during the years it will take for the case to be heard and decided, both countries are under an obligation not to allow any step of any kind to be taken which might extend the dispute of which the court is now seized. In this connection, Belize continues to be concerned about the illegal encroachment by Guatemalans into our territory resulting in even greater deforestation over our protected forests, illegal extraction of our natural resources and attempts at establishing farms and residences on our Belizean territory. Belize is also concerned over activities by the Guatemalan Armed Forces in the Sarstoon River, our southern boundary, which pose a threat to the peace and security of that border area. Belize is strenuously seeking to establish a modus operandi with Guatemala for the peaceful, shared use and enjoyment of the Sarstoon. We take this opportunity to acknowledge, with gratitude, the work of the O.A.S. in facilitating the ongoing efforts of Belize and Guatemala to implement the confidence building measures and we urge the international community to continue to support these and other similar measures. Finally, Mister President, Belize and Guatemala are forever neighbors and we in Belize have the most fervent wish to live side by side with the government and people of Guatemala in peace, harmony and close cooperation. It is the same aspirations we have for people far beyond our borders. Belize remains determined to defend and to uphold the purposes and principles set out in the charter—not only in words we speak, but most importantly in our actions.”


Elrington also touched on a number for issues giving government’s usual support to Taiwan and Palestine. In respect of friends in the region, he called for an end to the protracted embargo against Cuba and for a speedy resolution to the situation in Venezuela. A lot of his time was devoted to the issue of climate change which Elrington recognized as one of three major global threats. On this matter, he referred to Hurricane Dorian’s devastation on the Bahamas recalling the destruction caused by hurricane Hattie to Belize and noting that “category five storms, once an anomaly, are the new norm.”  Climate change, he said, has closed the window of opportunity for Small Island Developing States to achieve their sustainable development objectives. 

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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