Headline — 01 April 2017 — by Adele Ramos
Belize to be included in map of Guatemala?

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Mar. 30, 2017–Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not making a big deal of recent reports that a Guatemalan consultant, Edmundo Rene Urrutia Garcia, has filed a report with the Guatemala Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which he outlines proposals raised during the first month of his one-year consultancy, for Belize to be included in Guatemala’s map, apparently with annexation of the Sarstoon.


 The provocative proposals were filed with Guatemalan Foreign Minister
for inclusion of Belize in map of Guatemala with annexation of the Sarstoon

Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Sylvester, told Amandala today that he has heard of the report, but not seen the documents. The CEO said that there is no cause for unnecessary anxiety, as the report does not undermine Belize’s position in any way.

The document was shared by someone who obtained it from a source in Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the suggestion is that there is a faction in Guatemala trying to mount a campaign to see if there will be any resistance to the proposals.


 Report also refers to proposed consultation
by Guatemala on oil exploration in Belize

We emphasize that the document in which the proposals are contained has been filed with Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and notably, the report cites a meeting with the son of an ex-Guatemalan president, Dr. Marco Vinicio Cerezo, director of Fundación para el Ecodesarrollo y la Conservación (FUNDAECO), on efforts to do environmental work near Belize’s western border with Guatemala.

Garcia also refers to analysis and recommendations on notable topics, listing a proposed public consultation, on the oil exploration in Belize’s subsoil and a proposal to include Belize in Guatemala’s map, with specific reference to the Sarstoon. This is noteworthy because the document says that the request comes from Guatemala’s National Geographic Institute.

The document also makes reference to public consultations in Guatemala, which has signed an agreement with Belize to have the territorial differendum submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for binding adjudication.

Sylvester told us that the national referendum for Guatemala is reportedly slated for September.

Belize has undertaken to move towards having a referendum on the issue, after reregistration of voters next year.

Just recently, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) visited Belize and Guatemala, calling on the parties to move ahead with the vote. It is only if voters in both countries say yes, by majority vote, that the matter can be submitted to the ICJ, under the countries’ agreement signed back in 2008.

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