CARICOM foreign ministers welcome border dispute developments in Belize & Guyana

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) foreign ministers have welcomed the most recent developments in the border disputes involving Belize and Guyana.

Belize congratulated

The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) which ended a two-day meeting here on Tuesday, congratulated Belize on the successful holding of its referendum on whether to take its border dispute with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Belizeans voted on May 8 and the foreign ministers said they “welcomed the result of the referendum which opens the way to finally and definitively resolve the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claim at the ICJ in accordance with the Special Agreement.

“The COFCOR reiterated its concern that the undertaking by both countries and the OAS, (Organization of American States) to engage in the design and development of a mechanism of cooperation for the Sarstoon River, remains outstanding. The Ministers called for both countries and the OAS to redouble their efforts in this respect.”

The foreign ministers also expressed support for the “continuous and critical role of the OAS in the process aimed at resolving the dispute arising from Guatemala’s claims on Belize and further called on the international community to continue supporting the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone”.

The communique issued after the foreign ministers meeting noted that they “emphasized their unflinching support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of Belize”.

Updated re Guyana-Venezuela border dispute

The communique said that the ministers were also updated on the most recent developments between Guyana and Venezuela.

It recalled that Caribbean leaders at their inter-sessional summit in St. Kitts in February had “expressed support for the judicial process underway which was intended to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the long standing controversy and which was in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter…”

But the foreign ministers “noted with regret that Venezuela had failed to submit to the ICJ, a Counter-Memorial on the Jurisdiction of the Court by 18 April 2019 as required by the Court, and has reiterated to the Court “the decision of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela not to participate in the written procedure

“The Foreign Ministers emphasized that the proceedings of the ICJ were in the interest of an early resolution of the issues before it, and of regional peace and security – purposes to which they were all committed,” the communique noted, adding that they “reiterated the Community’s firm and unswerving support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana”.

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