Viewers may recall a historic expedition to the Sarstoon Island led by the Belize Territorial Volunteers on August 16th that included and interception by Guatemalan naval authorities and incursion on Belizean waters on their behalf.
Three days later, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that a Diplomatic Protest Note had been sent to Guatemala in regards to the incident.
That note though, was never made available to the public much less Guatemala’s response despite several requests made to Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington. But that has changed. On the October 6th edition of the Amandala Newspaper both the protest note sent by GOB to Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their response were published with the permission of Senator Lisa Shoman who made them available for the Belizean public to be educated.
Today we can tell you that both Diplomatic notes are raising eye brows among the Belizean populace.
In the Governments so called “stern note to Guatemala it quotes, “As the Government of Guatemala was fully aware; the Government of Belize was committed to exercise every precaution to prevent any confrontations between the two countries. It is regrettable to note, however, that the Guatemala Armed Forces apparently did not receive the relevant instructions to exercise such restraint. The Government of Belize therefore protests the uninvited incursion of the Guatemalan armed forces into Belizean waters in the Sarstoon and for GAF behaviour against unarmed Belize civilians and their vessels”, end quote.
But that script is not one being correlated by the Guatemalan Government as they issued their own version of events stating that and we quote, “The Government of the Republic of Guatemala categorically rejects said Note, specifically the affirmations made by the Honourable Government of Belize in respect to an incursion of Guatemala Armed Forces vessels into alleged Belizean waters in the Sarstoon River. Guatemala asserts that until the Territorial, Insular and Maritime claim against Belize is resolved at the International Court of Justice it does not recognize the existence of borders with Belize and it considers that the River Sarstoon and the islet situated at its mouth as Guatemalan territory and therefore, any foreign national who visits without the permission of the Guatemalan authorities could be considered as illegal and are subject to Guatemalan law”, end quote. The note continues to say “However, it is evident that the good will and spirit of cooperation of the Government of Guatemala has been distorted by the Government of Belize, interpreting said cooperation as a non-existent act of sovereignty”, end quote.
The note ended that Guatemala is committed to resolve the “aforementioned claim in accordance with peaceful means of conflict resolution, legitimizing it by submitting it to the International Court of Justice in accordance with international instruments subscribed by both countries such as the 2005 Agreement of a Framework for Negotiation and Confidence Building Measures and the 2008 Special Agreement”, end quote. Since the issuance of the note, there has been no reaction from Prime Minister Barrow or Foreign Affairs Minister, Wilfred Elrington.
You can view both diplomatic notes on our Facebook page.
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