There were some obvious contradictory statements made by Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Carlos Raul Morales on what has been stipulated in the Confidence Building Measures in reference to the Belize/Guatemala dispute. Morales alluded that in the document, both countries agreed to not build military bases along the border lines. Former PUP Foreign Ministers, including Assad Shoman, have refuted that statement as has the commander of the BDF. In an interview with the Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, he addressed the matter with the press and basically stated that the foreign minister was wrong.
Honorable Dean Barrow – Prime Minister of Belize
“I completely accept that he mis-spoke and I think he does too, the records are there and it is a fact that there is not that kind of language, I also understood him to say though, that he accepts as well that what we mean to do with the Forward Operating Base is not to be viewed by them as any kind of a threat this is for purposed of our internal security arrangements and indeed we invite them to coordinate with us so that the illegal fishing and other illegal activities that clearly take place in the area might be more effectively interdicted, look the Americans in particular who have this overriding interest in Central American security and especially in the trafficking in drugs are very much aware of what we need to do and supportive and I believe that at the military level there is understanding on the part of the Guatemalan officials now at a political level it seems to me that there is also agreement and so we will proceed.”
And there is the debate as to whether Belize had to explain itself to Guatemala officials as to the need or reason for the Forward Operating Base at the Sarstoon Island. The PM says that basically government is doing what is in the best interest of the country.
Honorable Dean Barrow– Prime Minister of Belize
“In talking to a group of friends, people will always advice caution accepting that Belize is sovereign over her territory but people will always say if you are going to do anything leading to an increase in military presence in the border area as a matter of good sense, as a matter of committee you let your neighbors know that this is happening so that there can be no misunderstanding but I don’t know of any friendly country that has ever come close to saying to us you absolutely should not do what you think you need to do with respect to your security.”
The PM says government has not yet set a date for the start of the project on the Sarstoon Island.
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