Foreign Minister updates Sarstoon Island controversy

Thursday, July 23, 2015. BMG: Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington is back from a visit to the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C., and Mexico.

At the former, where he witnessed the inauguration of Nestor Mendez as Assistant Secretary General to the OAS, he laid the groundwork for a formal meeting with Guatemala concerning their attempt to stop construction of the Coast Guard forward operating base at Sarstoon Island pending a resolution of the Guatemalan claim to Belize.wilfred_elrington

According to Elrington, as told to News 5‘s Mike Rudon, Guatemala’s Foreign Minister is due in Belize next week for a symposium organized by the OAS and preliminary talks will begin then before the OAS gets involved. Elrington notes that the OAS’ role is as a mediator and facilitator in disputes such as these.

In related news, the Minister clarified previous comments construed to suggest that Belize and Guatemala are proceeding to the ICJ without getting the consent of their people. He said that it is “understood” that nothing goes forward without that consent and any omission of that does not mean anything except to those trying to make trouble.

As he put it, “…notwithstanding the desire on the part of our government’s to proceed forward, governments act in accordance with the instructions that we get from our people. And if our people don’t want to go, fine; that is what it is going to be. The people will have their way. That is certainly my position.”

He denied that there was any contingency plan secreted away that lays the road to the ICJ without a referendum in either country and added that Belize is not prepared to negotiate to settle the claim as that usually means there is some level of compromise and Belize does not consider the claim to be grounded.


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