The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, His Excellency Luis Almagro, held his last engagement in Belize with the press this morning at the Philip Goldson International Airport. He addressed a number of issues including the shooting of the Guatemalan minor by Belize Defence Force soldiers. He said that as Belize and Guatemala work toward verifying the report, it is now more important than ever for them to work together.
H.E. Luis Almagro, Secretary General, OAS: We cannot go voluntarily and spontaneously and assume the problem. Those countries have said that they’ve asked for our rededication, but we have not received any formal request about that yet. In case we have said yesterday in our improvised press conference that we have deep concerns about incidents or accidents like this. I don’t think that they help in any way. I think, that what after we saw yesterday how the project goes on taking care of kids from 7 years old to 68, we have the feeling that we need more measures or more projects like the one we are implementing in the zone of adjacent in order to keep these kids away from these kinds of problems.
The Secretary General reiterates that Belize and Guatemala should resolve their dispute at the International Court of Justice (ICJ); however, he was circumspect about when a referendum should be called
H.E. Luis Almagro, Secretary General, OAS: Our feeling is that also it is very necessary that political states of Belize and also Guatemala, that the case should move ahead to the International Court of Justice as soon as possible. We cannot precipitate about calling a referendum. A lot of education should be done, but I think it would be very important that these movements are as soon as possible because these kinds of incidents, sometimes incidents sometimes accidents happen. They don’t help to build the confidence and trust that the citizens need in order to move and go out for this. I don’t think there is any other way ahead than moving through the International Court of Justice, that will be the only way that this problem can be resolved, so the sooner the better but in the best conditions.
Secretary General Almagro strained mightily to stay diplomatic and neutral, such as when he tackled this question about Belize needing to drop its threshold for validity of the referendum to simple majority instead of 60 percent: The Secretary General spent most of his time at the Adjacency Zone, checking in on a cultural program sponsored by the organization. However, he found time to meet with both sides of the political spectrum in Belize and fly over the Zone with the Belize Defense Force.