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DECLARATION BY FORMER FOREIGN MINISTERS OF BELIZE Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Friday, 11 January 2019 00:00

“We, former Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize from 1984 to 2008, after careful consideration of whether Belize should submit the Guatemalan territorial claim to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), this 9th day of January 2019, DECLARE the following:

[1] After more than 50 years of arduous negotiations, it has become clear that no Guatemalan Government will ever agree to voluntarily accept Belize’s territorial integrity based on the 1859 Treaty.

[2] Although Belize’s borders are recognized and supported by the international community, the Guatemalan government has responded to that moral mandate with intransigent reaffirmations of its anachronistic claim to Belize’s territory. The only certain way to get the Guatemalan government to recognize our legitimate border is through a binding ICJ order.

[3] Under the Special Agreement, which was negotiated by Belize with the advice of a team of international legal experts, Guatemala for the first time finally abandoned its position held since 1936 that it would only go to the ICJ if the case were tried on the basis of equity or fairness. The Special Agreement makes clear that the ICJ will only be able to consider the matter on strictly legal grounds and principles, and that Guatemala will not be allowed to make any further claims.

[4] If the claim is not adjudicated at the ICJ, the Guatemalan government will continue to maintain that there are no borders between our countries. It will continue its attempts to impose its claims by the show of force. It will fail to prevent its citizens from illegally entering our territory, stealing our resources and severely damaging our environment and water supplies. This will cause irreparable damage, and burden our children with the consequences of our inaction.

[5] Seeking an Advisory Opinion from the same ICJ judges would not solve the problem, since that would have no more weight than the countless diplomatic declarations that we have already gotten from almost every international organization. In addition, the result of Advisory Opinions sought by other nations whose entire territories were likewise under attacks, such as Western Sahara and Palestine, is not something that Belizeans could possibly entertain.

[6] Since the ICJ judges will be obliged to look only at the evidence and to apply only the law and established legal principles under Article 38 (1) of the ICJ Statute, as required by the Special Agreement, we are entirely certain that there is no likelihood of Belize losing any territory, whether terrestrial or maritime. In addition, all international lawyers who have fully examined all the evidence on both sides, including several who advised Guatemala, have concluded that Guatemala has no arguable case against Belize.

[7] This is the first time in the long history of attempts to resolve the claim that Belize is not being asked to make any compromise, give up anything or give in to any pressure. Going to the ICJ will permit us to obtain a legally enforceable vindication of our rights.

It is for these reasons that we strongly urge a ‘yes’ vote. It secures for Belize an irreversible and binding decision enshrining forever our right to live in peace within borders that could never again be challenged by anyone.”

Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2019 10:38
 


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