Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018. 7:24 pm CST.
By BBN Staff:Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Guatemala, Carlos Morales today told Belizean journalists that Guatemala wants to take the claim on Belize’s territory to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a final settlement because they want to live in peace with their neighbor, Belize. “We want to give a solution to this problem and I hope that Belize will attend to this referendum next April and I hope the Belizean people think to give a solution to this problem because we want peace and we want to build the peace. It is not time to continue any kind of incidents between both countries. It is time to have the best relation with both countries,” Morales said.
According to Morales, if the claim is finally settled, there are many economic benefits for both countries to work bilaterally on.
If Belizeans vote ‘No’ to the ICJ, Morales says that future governments of Belize will have to find a way to find a solution to the claim.
Morales also told us that organized crime take advantage of this claim and that the international community is very concerned about the two countries finding a solution to the claim. “ If Belize votes ‘No’ we have to accept it. But the governments of Belize have to continue looking for a solution. The international community, the United States in particular is very interested that Belize and Guatemala will give a solution to this issue because the organized crime takes advantage of this bilateral dispute….. The international community is very committed and very respectful in asking us to go to the ICJ and find a solution. Guatemala recognized Belize as a country in 1991. Now what we need to define just to finalize this situation is go to the ICJ and try to get an order from the ICJ that I hope doesn’t take more than 5 years,” he explained.
Over the years, Guatemala has consistently changed its claim from portions of Belize, to islands, to half of Belize and the entire country. We asked Morales if Guatemala has clearly defined its claim: “ It is very difficult. It has to be the result of a very long process of study. But the most important thing is when I promoted the referendum in Guatemala, I focused on finding the peace, not on the claim. I focused on the issue that it is necessary to define the line, to define the border,” he responded.
Journalists also met with Pablo Hurtado, from the Investigation and Social Studies Association in Guatemala, who also expressed the sentiment that Guatemala wants to find a peaceful solution to the claim and expand more financial and tourism opportunities with Belize.
Hurtado told us that Guatemala wants to define the borders between the two countries so as to have peace.
But what happens if Belizeans vote ‘No’ in the upcoming April 10 referendum?
Hurtado says that he feels a ‘No’ vote in Belize would be good for Guatemala, “ I have to say that if Belize votes ‘No’, it would put Guatemala in a really good position because we have had our referendum and we say yes we are willing to find a peaceful solution to this claim. The international community recognize then that we are willing to go to the court and settle the matter.”
Notably, both meetings with Hurtado and Morales included the discussion of the Guatemalan minor that died in 2016. Both officials referred to the incident as a murder by Belizean authorities even after the Organization of American States (OAS) report indicated otherwise.
“ I think we need to promise both countries to try to avoid any kind of incidents because anytime we have an incident, we have this kind of effects in the political atmosphere in the country. This is why we need to respect the people of both countries. The idea is to respect our population and try to build a very good relations with both countries,” Morales stated.
Advertise with the largest and fastest growing audience in Belize ~ We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages. Your content is delivered instantly to thousands of users in Belize and abroad! Contact us at [email protected] or call us at 670-6397.
© 2018, BreakingBelizeNews.com. This article is the copyrighted property of Breaking Belize News. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.