So what does Government have to say about this latest breach of the so called Informal Agreement? In a release issued late this evening, GOB says that they are seeking to confirm the details of the Channel 5 version of events which as you know is that that a Belizean vessel with two media personnel was traversing the Sarstoon River this morning when they were approached by a Guatemalan Armed Force vessel, with nine military personnel on board who attempted to stop the Belizean vessel which was traveling along the north side of the Sarstoon Island.
In the release GOB makes clear its firm position that if the report is accurate, meaning that if the investigations reveal that the media vessel was actually in Belize’s waters, the incident would constitute a breach of the spirit of the Confidence Building Measures and will be rejected as prejudicial to the ongoing diplomatic efforts, including next week's meeting in Washington, to establish a bilateral Cooperation Mechanism for the Sarstoon.
And while we know what our side of the story is, Guatemalan authorities have communicated to Government that they attempted to stop the vessel to inquire as to the reason for the taking of pictures of their naval base.
Viewers might recall that May 27th was the first time that Guatemalan Armed Forces restricted the local media from traversing the Sarstoon after the law was revoked as a result of the meetings in Istanbul where an Informal Agreement between Belize and Guatemala recognized the free passage of Belizeans and the BDF on Belize’s side of the river.
When that incident occurred Prime Minister Dean Barrow stated that he was extremely distressed and disturbed with the occurrence and that the OAS had been alerted. What became of that investigation is anybody’s guess because no official report has been released.
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