The General Assembly meeting of the Organization of American States comes to an end today in the Dominican Republic. Both the foreign minister of Belize and Guatemala made presentations during which they spoke of the role of the hemispheric organization in helping both countries to reach a permanent solution to the territorial dispute between them.
Carlos Raul Morales Moscoso, Minister of Foreign Affairs-Guatemala: I want to emphasize the role played by the organization and this territorial insular and maritime dispute we have with Belize. The OAS, with financial support from the International community has an important office in the adjacency zone which promotes peace, culture and trust between the people and government of both countries. Most recently, the OAS has helped us with a project of local and economic development in the communities located in the vicinity of the adjacency zone. Guatemala and Belize have reiterated our commitment to resolve our dispute definitively in the International Court of Justice for which a referendum is necessary to be held in both countries and in this process the participation of the Organization is vital so as to put an end to this dispute once and for all.
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs-Belize: Thank you Mister Deputy Secretary General and thank you Mister Secretary General, I hadn’t seen you just now, for the tremendous support that the OAS is giving to this process and for your own Mister Secretary General particular interest in putting it in the forefront of the work for the OAS. Actually I’d like to think that we have recorded signaled progress in this matter. The Canciller of Guatemala and myself are having excellent relationship; we are resolved to work together—both to see that this matter is resolved successfully art the ICJ at the quickest time and to ensure that between now and then, there is peace between the people of Belize and Guatemala. We are both of the view that only benefits can come from a peaceful, harmonious relationship between our two countries and we undertake that we will continue to do all in our power to bring to a speedy conclusion this century’s old dispute.
According to a press release from the Government of Belize, they are awaiting an official declaration at the conclusion of the 46th Regular Assembly, which will include the OAS’ continued support for Belize and Guatemala to continue efforts to peacefully resolve their differences. Meanwhile the Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs is being called out here at home publicly following the disclosure of a May 28th letter from the Guatemalan Ambassador to Belize stating that they never informally agreed to untrammelled access to the Sarstoon at the Istanbul Talks. Some have publicly denounced him as a liar, and today, the deputy leader of the Belize Progressive Party and the leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, Wil Meheia reiterated a cry that is being made more constantly now: he must go as Foreign Minister:
Wil Maheia, BPP Deputy Leader, Leader of the BTV: Yes well I think the government of Belize owes the Belizean people an explanation, because as far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing but a big lie. I cannot understand why the government of Belize would commit to such a huge lie to the people of Belize. I think they owe the people of Belize a huge apology and from a political standpoint I believe this is time, there is enough time now that the Prime Minister of this country needs to really take control of the situation and remove Elrington from there. I mean this man is lying to the Belizean people and this is enough evidence, enough proof, I don’t know what the Prime Minister is waiting for but this person Elrington, I can’t even call him Minister again, this person Elrington has to go and we’re calling from the BPP standpoint for his immediate removal as Foreign Minister from this country, he’s a shame and disgrace to this country.
Reporter: Do you think that on an International level it also makes the Prime Minister himself look bad because he came and basically repeated what was said.
Wil Maheia, BPP Deputy Leader, Leader of the BTV: Even more so, the Prime Minister of this country, I mean if he actually was lied to by Sedi, it is enough reason for him to remove him as foreign minister, if not then the Prime Minister will be held accountable and basically not being forward with the people of Belize.
Meheia also called on other groupings to join the call for Elrington’s removal:
Wil Maheia, BPP Deputy Leader, Leader of the BTV: I think this is the time for NGO’s, I think this is the time for Civil Society and everybody else to call for his removal. We should not wait, this is the time for Belizeans to stand up for Belize. A big lie has been told to the Belizean people and it’s time to stand up for Belize.