Highlights — 11 January 2017
Guatemala says Belize agreed to no Sarstoon occupation until ICJ

Friday, January 6, 2016

6:30 A.M.

In recent years, there has been a lot of back and forth on Sarstoon Island which Belize and Belizeans have forever known as Belize’s territory. But Guatemala became aggressive in its exertion of supposed sovereignty over the island in the last decade.

A leaked Belize Defence Force confidential report from October 2015 documents, there is an increased aggression on the part of the Guatemalan Armed Forces in the area toward the BDF.

This tension has led to multiple diplomatic meetings and the latest round of encounters on the matter between the Foreign Ministers of both countries have had to do with a protocol for the Sarstoon, which Belizean officials foresee will be something akin to the Confidence Building Measures or CBMs that are in place along the western border.

However, it has since been revealed in Guatemalan official documents that they have rejected any CBMs for the Southern border along the Sarstoon. The Guatemalans have instead insisted on what they call a security protocol that consists of granting Belize the courtesy of allowing our military to traverse the Sarstoon River to simply conduct its changeover at its Cadenas conservation post.

Well, yesterday we got our hands on some official documentation which shows that in July of 2015, while the Guatemalan Foreign Minister was in Belize for events relating to a culture of peace program spearheaded by the OAS at the so-called Adjacency Zone office, he and Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington agreed that there would be no settlement or use of the Sarstoon Island until the International Court of Justice makes a determination as to who it belongs to. As we have reported, in the last few years, Guatemala has aggressively claimed ownership of the island.

We note, that our government officials never informed Belizeans of such an agreement; whether orally or otherwise was reached with their Guatemalan counterparts.

(We thank KREM’s Marisol Amaya for the story.)

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