On July 24, 2015 the People’s United Party under the leadership of Francis Fonseca, issued a release to the media, saying that the party has decided to not support the taking of the ICJ issue to a referendum. About two months prior to that release, Fonseca had stated that the PUP is saying no to going to the International Court of Justice. The grand ol’ party is now under different leadership and things seem to be getting more organized and inclusive. With new systems being put in place within the blue and white party, we asked Party Leader John Briceno if they will be revisiting their current position on leaning to the ICJ for a solution to Guatemala’s territorial claim.
“We will certainly be revisiting that position that is why we have asked some of the most talented people, some of the most experienced persons when it comes to the Belize Guatemala differendum to advise us as a party and that is why we have appointed the five former foreign ministers that worked under the PUP government to form a team to be able to work with us and advise us as to the way forward. So we are going to be looking at that to see what is the position that we are going to take as a party but again I want to reiterate that when it comes to the Belize Guatemala issue that should not be political, that we need to work together to be able to find a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible on the Belize Guatemala differendum.”
In March 2000, Belize and Guatemala restarted talks on the longstanding territorial differendum, under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States. When it comes to going to the ICJ, a national referendum has to take place in both countries and the majority has to agree to forward the matter to the International Court of Justice. Since the OAS came on board as somewhat of a mediator, there have been several hiccups in holding a referendum simultaneously in the two countries; but on May 25, 2015, the Foreign Ministers for Belize and Guatemala signed the Protocol to the Special Agreement with the OAS Secretary General as witness. This Protocol enables Belize and Guatemala to hold the referenda either simultaneously or separately on the date that is more convenient to each of the Parties. According to the website of the OAS, because of the Peace Fund, the two countries are closer than ever to finding a permanent solution to their centuries-old conflict.