By Aaron Humes: Following news of the prevention by Guatemalan naval forces of members of the Belizean media from free passage to and through the Sarstoon River on Friday, 27 May 2016; and the brazen presence of Guatemalan forces in Belizean internal waters, the People’s United Party has issued a release demanding that the Government of Belize address the incident as a matter of urgency whilst condemning Guatemala’s insistence at the illegal annexation.
The release states, quote, “The People’s United Party strongly condemns the continuing illegal annexation of the Sarstoon River by Guatemala, and demands that the Government of Belize act to re-establish full sovereignty and control over the Belizean internal waters of the Sarstoon River and of Sarstoon Island.
Calling the incident “a blatant violation of Belizean dignity” and further “evidence of Guatemalan bad faith which erodes the very limited progress achieved at the bilateral meeting between Belize and Guatemala held in Istanbul, Turkey on 23 May 2016,” the PUP says Belize needs to adopt a more aggressive and urgent approach to the Sarstoon problem in order to guarantee full Belizean sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The Opposition has demanded the adaptation of a comprehensive plan to restore full Belizean sovereignty and control over the Belizean internal waters of the Sarstoon River and of Sarstoon Island; that Ambassador Alexis Rosado be recalled for consultations, and are insisting on a meeting between Belize and Guatemala under the auspices of the OAS, that will result in a signed protocol guaranteeing free navigation in the Sarstoon River in accordance with the 1859 Treaty and international law and also to appoint a National Team to competently manage Belize/Guatemala relations.
The Prime Minister expressed disappointment at the incident whilst saying that upon addressing the matter he was told that the Foreign Minister had not returned from his trip to Istanbul and perhaps the directive had not been handed down. The incident, he said, is unjustified and that both he and Senator Eamon Courtenay took away the very same understanding from the recent meetings.
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