There is no doubt that the latest encounter between Guatemalan armed forces and Belizean Authorities has given much to talk about, with several leaders and organizations voicing their opinion on the situation including Prime Minister Dean Barrow who attributed the recent hostility from the Guatemalans to visits from the Belize Territorial Volunteers.
But yesterday we told you about a leaked confidential report from the Belize Defense Force that shows “military-to-military” tension at the Sarstoon started flaring up over a decade ago and it is not just recently that the Guatemalan Army has insisted that the BDF should not be on the Sarstoon River.
Today Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Patrick Faber, shared his input on the situation saying that he believes that there are proper ways to advance in the territorial dispute with Guatemala and that includes the meeting in Washington that took place yesterday.
During the interview Faber also concurred with Prime Minister Barrow in saying that the Belize Territorial Volunteers carry much of the blame when it comes to the aggressions suffered by the BDF as their excursions to the Sarstoon does nothing but aggravate the tension between both countries.
Honorable Patrick Faber- Minister Education Youth and Sports
“What is happening in Washington at the OAS headquarters and so on is to me a good way in trying to resolve these problems we are not going to take anything that the Guatemalan issue but there are proper ways of solving it and for me it was crystal clear as well after hearing all that transpired overtime you know that I visited Sarstoon and Cadenas with the military forces of Belize and in fact we saw the Guatemalan military right there and there was a point on that trip when I was there that General Jones actually went to cross to sit a while with the General over in Guatemala so that kind of cordial relationships certainly exists in upon until very recently and so all those who are saying that the Territorial Volunteers who have gone down there that they have not been a factor in stirring the mud so to speak on what is happening at the Sarstoon would be wrong and our Foreign Minister’s position has always been that while it is that we are not going to give up not an inch not a centimeter of Belize there are some situations that we should avoid and now that the Guatemalans have taken that stand it is clear to see that it is because of that kind of agitation that readily could have been avoided and in fact the discussions about solving the dispute in its entirety could continue according to the compromi that of course exist and as long as that dialogue is in let us not try to create that kind of incidence that will see a deterioration in the relationship that is there now.”
We understand that the delegation that travelled to Washington…which included Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Wilfred Elrignton and representative for the Opposition Assad Shoman met with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, (OAS), and the purpose of the meeting was to elicit the financial support from the OAS office at the Adjacency zone.
The Belize delegation sought to chart a way forward in relation to the incidents occurring at the Sarstoon and although the Guatemalan representatives had different objectives and different mandates, Belize's mandate was to see to what extent they could get an acceptance of the confidence building measures to include the Sarstoon region. Even though it was not a topic which the Guatemalans wanted to discuss, Belize insisted it was really important to our country and they were able to let the OAS know the gravity of the situation.
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