By BBN Staff: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has publicly declared its support for Belize’s territorial sovereignty following the most recent confrontation between the Belize Defense Force (BDF) and the Guatemalan Armed Forces (GAF) at the forward operating base under construction in the Sarstoon River.
CARICOM said yesterday that although the incident ended peacefully, following contact at the highest level between military and political leaders on both sides, it was gravely concerned about the confrontation.
“The Caribbean Community restates the importance it places on respect for international law and the sanctity of treaties and deeply regrets any actions of the GAF which violate the sovereignty of Belize and attempt to change the status quo, prior to the submission of the Guatemalan claim to Belizean territory to the International Court of Justice in accordance with the Special Agreement ratified by both parties,” the CARICOM statement said, noting that the mid-channel of the Sarstoon River was the settled and agreed border between the Republic of Guatemala and the United Kingdom, long before Belize’s independence in 1981.
“The Community reiterates its strong and unequivocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize and calls on the government of Guatemala to agree to confidence building measures, in conjunction with the Organization of American States, to ensure peace and stability along the southern border of Belize with the Republic of Guatemala,” it said.
The statement comes on the heels of high level meetings at OAS headquarters in Washington D.C. last week where diplomats from Belize and Guatemala agreed to take all measures to ensure peace in the Sarstoon.
The parties have agreed to meet again in the near future to make tangible arrangements to ensure that peace.