General — 23 April 2013 — by Adele Ramos
Belize PM seeks audience with UN Sec-Gen, Ban Ki-Moon, on Belize-Guatemala referendum

Prime Minister Dean Barrow left Belize this weekend for New York, USA, where he is scheduled to meet with the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-Moon of Korea, who the Prime Minister intends to brief on the Belize-Guatemala referendum planned for October 6, 2013, in line with the special agreement signed between the parties back in 2008, setting out provisions for the territorial differendum to be litigated at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Government announced this weekend that Barrow will brief Ban Ki-Moon on Belize’s current position.

Latest reports to our newspaper are that the OAS has still not announced a date on which it intends to meet with Belize and Guatemala to discuss the latest impasse, which has emerged because Guatemala is insisting on a change of date for the simultaneous referenda.

Last November, the UN Secretary-General issued his salutation for “the progress made by Belize and Guatemala under the auspices of the Organization of American States to resolve their longstanding territorial dispute.”

Ban Ki-Moon said he welcomed their decision to hold simultaneous referenda on 6 October 2013 to consult their populations on referring the dispute to the ICJ.

The ICJ, which sits at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands), is the UN’s principal judicial organ. It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations but only became operational in April 1946. Interestingly, it is the only one of the six principal organs of the UN not seated in New York.

The UN Secretary-General has said that the ICJ process, in his view, “is in line with the objective of pacific settlement of disputes enshrined in the United Nations Charter and merits international support.”

Government information indicates that the Prime Minister’s visit to New York is being coordinated by the Office of Belize’s Permanent Representative to the United Nation, Lois Michele Young, ex-wife of Prime Minister Barrow.

It appears that the Prime Minister won’t be accompanied in New York by the Foreign Affairs team. The Government release issued over the weekend said that Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington and Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Alexis Rosado, are due to join Barrow in Haiti, instead.

There, Barrow (and the Belize delegation) will join fellow Caribbean Heads of States for the 5th Summit of Heads of State of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), an organization launched on July 24, 1994.

The meeting, which is slated to be held on Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26, 2013, at the Karibe Hotel & Convention Centre, will be held under the theme: “Revitalizing the Vision of the Association of Caribbean States for a Stronger and More United Greater Caribbean.”

Mexico will serve as chair, and Cuba and Honduras as vice chair for the meeting.

The twenty-nine heads of government will focus on issues relating to sustainable tourism, air and maritime transport, trade, and disaster risk reduction, according to information published by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The UN office said that the summit’s outcomes “will be mutually positive for both Haiti and the wider Caribbean, as affirmed by the Secretary General [ Alfonso Múnera Cavadía].”

The Prime Minister is due to return to Belize next Sunday, April 28, 2013.

Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega will hold over as Acting Prime Minister in Barrow’s absence.

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