Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2018. 9:51 p.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: Guatemala will hold their national referendum in seven (7) days time. As a result their Foreign Ministry has intensified their campaign encouraging Guatemalans to vote YES for Belize and Guatemala to go to the International Court of Justice to resolve Guatemala’s long standing territorial claim for Belize.
According to the Prensa Libre newspaper, Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales, who was in Peten yesterday as part of a nationwide tour to promote their national referendum, sent a friendly message to Belize saying “that they (Belize) has a neighbor who loves them and respects them.”
According to the Prensa Libre report, Morales also explained that there are 13 diplomatic agreements between the two (2) countries but by resolving the dispute, more can be achieved: “With Belize we can have more agreements and treaties that will serve for the development of our peoples. We want to improve trade and have legal certainty on both sides of the adjacency zone”.
When asked what would happen since Guatemala is conducting their referendum and Belize does not vote to go to the ICJ, he informed Guatemalans that his government is moving forward regardless of what Belize does.
In his speech, he also told Guatemalans that the territorial dispute is a “state” issue and should not be just cast away.
Morales also stated that by Guatemalans voting yes to the ICJ, they have an opportunity to find a solution for a long standing dispute.
He told residents that the fight is not with Belize but that Guatemala is claiming a historic right. “We have the right to claim what belongs to us,” he said.
“We will decide, as a people, to bring the difference with Belize before the International Court of Justice. He further clarified that Guatemala has a good relationship with Belize, both in politics and diplomacy, but claims that Guatemalans “are fighting for what is ours, the territory”.
Guatemala’s national referendum takes place next Sunday, April 15, 2018.
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