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RESOLUTION OF THE 106th SESSION OF THE ACP COUNCIL OF MINISTERS HELD IN BRUSSELS, BELGIUM FROM 5TH TO 6th DECEMBER 2017

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TOWARDS RESOLVING THE GUATEMALAN CLAIM OF BELIZE

 

The ACP Council of Ministers,

-        meeting in Brussels, (Belgium), from 5 to 6 December 2017,

 

A.              CONSIDERING the Port Moresby Declaration of the 8th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government of 1 June 2016, which, inter alia, affirmed unequivocal support for Belize’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for a peaceful and final resolution to the claim over Belize by the Republic of Guatemala;

 

B.              HAVING REGARD TO its Resolution of the 103rd Session of the ACP Council of Ministers entitled Recent Tensions between Belize and Guatemala wherein it affirmed its commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize;

 

C.               AWARE that the Republic of Guatemala persists in maintaining its territorial, insular and maritime claims against Belize, and that Belize wholly rejects such claims;

 

D.              COGNIZANT that the unresolved claim continues to create difficulties along the border of Belize with Guatemala, including those that cause environmental damage in Belize and that cause border incidents that result in casualties and injuries to people;

 

E.               RECOGNIZING that both countries are taking positive steps to comply with their Special Agreement of 2008 by preparing to hold national referenda for their peoples to decide whether to submit the claim for final resolution to the International Court of Justice;

 

F.               RECALLING the escalation of tensions more than a year ago along Belize’s border with the Republic of Guatemala, resulting from Guatemala’s decision to challenge a long-standing modus operandi respecting the status quo of borders agreed since 1859;

 

G.              CONSCIOUS that such behaviour, including actions by Guatemalan armed forces to prevent citizens and security officers of Belize from traversing their agreed part of the Sarstoon River, threatens peace and stability between these sovereign neighbouring States and of the region;

 

H.              CONCERNED that, despite the agreement by both governments made in Istanbul on 24 May 2016 to work urgently on the design and development of a mechanism of cooperation in the Sarstoon River, the Government of Guatemala continues to refuse to meet the Government of Belize to achieve that agreed objective;

 

I.                FURTHER CONCERNED that, Guatemala, by falsely asserting ownership and control of the entire Sarstoon River as the status quo between the two countries, may be attempting to create new facts on the ground before the International Court of Justice can consider the dispute;

 

J.                REAFFIRMS its commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Belize;

 

K.              ENCOURAGES Belize and the Republic of Guatemala to continue to take the agreed steps required to submit the claim for final resolution to the International Court of Justice;

 

L.               URGES the Government of Guatemala to comply with its formal agreements to design confidence building measures for the Sarstoon River that will enable the two countries to enjoy the peace and harmony they had been accustomed to on this waterway for a century and a half before Guatemala’s recent aggressive behaviour;

 

M.             CALLS on Belize and the Republic of Guatemala to continue to abide fully by their Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures of 2005, which commits both countries to refrain from the threat or use of force and lays out a verification process to address border incidents under the auspices of the Organisation of American States;

 

N.              RENEWS its call on the international community to support the efforts of Belize and the Republic of Guatemala to seek a peaceful, final and just resolution to the dispute arising from Guatemalan claims over Belize's territory and, in particular, to support the facilitation role of the Organisation of American States.

 

Brussels, 06 December, 2017


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