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Oct 27, 2022

Why Pact of Bogota? P.M. Briceño Explains

Prime Minister John Briceño

The inclusion of Honduras as a third party in Belize’s case against Guatemala that has been lodged in the International Court of Justice, has been a talking point since the subject was introduced in the Senate earlier this week. The matter involves ownership of the Sapodilla Cayes which Honduras laid claim to as far back as 1982. The string of islands forms the southernmost end of the Belize Barrier Reef System. To challenge Honduras over possession of the Sapodilla Cayes, the Pact of Bogota is being invoked.  The American Treaty on Pacific settlement, as it is otherwise known, was signed in 1948. But what bearing, if any, will taking Honduras to the World Court have on Belize’s bilateral relations with our Central American neighbor? This morning, Prime Minister John Briceño responded to that very question.


Prime Minister John Briceño

“We continue to maintain very good bilateral relations with Honduras, but it is a matter that has to be addressed and they, themselves, understand that the foreign minister has approached our foreign minister and said, well you know, we will have to address this, now that you have taken this to the I.C.J. And the judges of the ICJ would not touch the Sapodilla Cayes because they would realize now that it’s not only Guatemala, but also Honduras. And from our stance, there is an issue of timing. In 2024, there is going to be an election for new judges and new judges are going to come into 2025. So if we don’t address this now, then who knows, we may have to start the process all over again because new judges are going to be looking at the case. So we want to try to fast track to be able to get everybody around the table or to court and by using the Pact of Bogota then Honduras who is compelled, because they are signatories of the Pact of Bogota, to go to the ICJ. What will happen, if we don’t do what we are doing, then the court will rule just where Belize and Guatemala are involved, but in that area they will not rule because they are saying, well, another country is also involved. “

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