Belize’s borders not recognized, Foreign Minister says

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

Belize’s borders are not recognized, not by Guatemala or the international community, Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington said last week.

Elrington was speaking to reporters following the visit to Belize by Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro.

“We have got to complete the process of our sovereignty, territorial integrity and the problem that – one of our main problem is that – up to the present time, we still don’t have internationally recognized borders, Elrington emphasized. “It’s not only Guatemala. You see the international community does not take sides and if you give a little thought to it, you will know that our maritime borders have never even been agreed upon. That has to be agreed upon, we don’t have any maritime borders agreed upon in the sea,” he added.

Not having clearly defined borders creates problems, such as the sensitive nature-type incidents that have occurred over recent months at the borders. For that reason, the Foreign Minister stated, we have to go to the ICJ.

“We have got to make sure that we take the necessary steps and the only step we can do, the only place that can help us, to ensure that that in fact is defined, will be the ICJ. …Boundaries have to be agreed upon by countries who are neighboring countries in 1893 we got out northern boundaries agreed with Mexico and part of our sea. [in] 1859 we had the Western border agreed with Guatemala, but they rescinded on that in 1939, but we never did have with Guatemala any agreement with respect to the Maritime boundaries neither with Guatemala nor with Honduras, which is very close to us. That is work undone,” Elrington said.

Almagro agreed that the ICJ is the only solution to our territorial dispute. His visit to Belize and Guatemala was to encourage just that, urging us to hasten the process to take our territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice.

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