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OAS says Guatemala Will Not Offend Belize at General Assembly Print E-mail
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Thursday, 18 April 2013 00:00

Albert RamdinOn Tuesday April 16th the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, held a press briefing to update the media on activities of the organization in particular, the OAS' General Assembly which will be held in Antigua, Guatemala on June 6th. At the last meeting of the general assembly in Bolivia in February of this year and again in Washington there was an offensive video presented by Guatemala which showed no differentiation in territory between Belize and Guatemala. At the time it was met with great displeasure by Belize's ambassador to the OAS, Nestor Mendez and a formal protest was launched. Belize's Foreign Minister has since reported that if such a video is again presented Belize will be walking out of the meeting.

Assistant Secretary General, Ramdin, who is in charge of the proceedings made it clear that all measures are being put in place that there is not a repetition of the offensive video or anything that is presented for that matter. He said that "We are trying to put everything in place to avoid any documents that are going to be presented to the general assembly or to any other meeting in the context of general assembly to be screened before properly so that we avoid something happening again."  According to Ramdin, any presentation to the General Assembly must be done 72 hours in advance to allow for proper screening. Ramdin added that  "Our position is that during an OAS meeting and the general assembly is an OAS meeting, nothing should take place, nothing should happen which can be offensive to any other member state of the Organization of American States so we will be clear to all participants in that regard."

At the briefing the Assistant Secretary General also addressed the issue of the October 6th referendum and Guatemala's unwillingness to participate in it. He said that "there is need for clarity in terms of the position of both countries." This he said can be arrived through a meeting between both countries facilitated by the OAS which is to be convened shortly by the Secretary General. The date for that meeting has not yet been set.

Ramdin also commented on allegations made by Wil Maheia from the Belize Territorial Volunteers where OAS representatives appeared to have shown bias towards Guatemala when they attempted to stop the volunteers from going to an area which was known to be Belizean territory during an expedition on April 6th in the village of Dolores. The complaint being lodged is that an African Palm plantation and a road is being constructed in the adjacency zone which the Confidence Building Measures does not allow as a matter of mutual agreement. To the allegation Ramdin explained that the OAS is not partisan and does not demonstrate preference to any of the parties involved. He commented that the OAS is a facilitator to settle disputes and it is up to the disagreeing countries to make sure that the confidence building measures are followed to avoid conflict.