Belize and Guatemalan delegation discuss Sarstoon protocol in Washington

Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington, Brigadier General David Jones and Ambassador Alexis Rosado are in Washington DC where a high level meeting was held this afternoon at the OAS Main building there. The Belizean delegation met with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales, Guatemala’s Commander of the Armed Forces, General Perez and Guatemalan Ambassador to Belize, Manuel Roland Barillas to discuss a protocol for the use of the Sarstoon River by Belizeans. The restriction of Belizean use of the River was brought to light by the Belize Territorial Volunteers almost a year ago in early September 2015, when Guatemalan Armed Forces in Guatemalan Navy boats, blocked the Belizeans from entering the Sarstoon. Since then, there have been several incidents where Belizeans have been hindered by the Guatemalans from accessing the Sarstoon and even hindered by a hastily devised Statutory Instrument by the Belizean Government to stop its own Belizean people from going on the Sarstoon River in order to avoid further confrontation with GAF. Needless to say, it has been a tense few months which have resulted in several meetings on the way forward. Preliminary, unofficial reports coming from after the meetings in Washington indicate that there has been no real agreement reached on establishing protocol for the Sarstoon. The only agreement, it appears, has been that both countries want to move towards de-escalating the situation, but exactly how to go about de-escalating has not yet been agreed to. As soon as any official word is released on the results of the Washington meeting, we will be sure to bring those to you.

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