The People’s United Party is calling on the Government of Belize to adopt a more aggressive and urgent approach to the Sarstoon problem in order to guarantee full Belizean sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The demand follows the prevention by Guatemalan naval forces of members of the Belizean media from free passage to and through the Sarstoon River on Friday May 27th 2016 despite an informal agreement reached in Istanbul, Turkey which allows Belizeans free access to Belize’s side of the Sarstoon until protocols are set in place.
In the release issue today the PUP demands that the Government of Belize act to reestablish full sovereignty and control over the Belizean internal waters of the Sarstoon River and of Sarstoon Island. The PUP views the presence of Guatemalan forces in Belizean waters as quote “illegal and a blatant violation of Belizean sovereignty.” End quote.
According to the PUP, the latest encounter at the Sarstoon is evidence of Guatemalan bad faith which erodes the very limited progress achieved at the bilateral meeting between Belize and Guatemala held in Istanbul, Turkey and Belize needs to adopt a more aggressive and urgent approach to the Sarstoon problem in order to guarantee full Belizean sovereignty and territorial integrity.
With that in mind the PUP calls on Government to act as follows: 1. To adopt a comprehensive plan to restore full Belizean sovereignty and control over the Belizean internal waters of the Sarstoon River and of Sarstoon Island. Two: t immediately recall Ambassador Alexis Rosado for consultations. Three: To insist on a meeting between Belize and Guatemala, under the auspices of the OAS, that will result in a signed protocol guaranteeing free navigation in the Sarstoon River in accordance with the 1859 Treaty and international law; and Four: To appoint a National Team to competently manage Belize/Guatemala relations.
As we told you previously…on Friday members of the media headed south to the Sarstoon. The group was able to reach the B.D.F.’s Forward Operating Base and while they were told they could not dock at the FOB they were granted permission to proceed with the trip and that is when the media personnel met face to face with Guatemala’s Army metal shark with five soldiers on board. The media was told that they were in “Guatemalan national waters” and ordered to leave. While the group insisted that there was an informal agreement between both countries allowing the free traverse of Belizeans on the Sarstoon, the Guatemalan soldiers insisted that since the informal agreement was recent it was yet to be defined.
The group then requested that the officer in charge of the soldiers seek more information on the agreement with his superiors. The officer complied but when he returned his response was the same “The media was in Guatemalan waters and they could not continue down the river. To avoid any problems the media did as they were told and left the area.
The Prime Minister has stated that he is extremely distressed and disturbed by the incident which has been reported to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro and that a formal memorandum would have been sent to him.
|< Prev||Next >|