Foreign Minister Francis Fonseca Aims for Sarstoon Protocol with Guatemala’s New Leadership

Foreign Minister Francis Fonseca Aims for Sarstoon Protocol with Guatemala’s New Leadership

Belize’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Francis Fonseca, says he is hopeful that with new leadership in Guatemala, both nations will be able to finally establish a Sarstoon Protocol. Over the weekend, Fonseca and Prime Minister John Briceno were in the neighboring country to witness the swearing-in of President Bernardo Arevalo. It was Fonseca’s first official event in the capacity of Foreign Minister after taking office seventeen days ago. He succeeded Eamon Courtenay, who retains the seat as Senator for Government Business, but returned to his full-time law practice. According to Fonseca, the trip served as an opportunity to dialogue with his counterpart in Guatemala on issues of mutual concern, particularly trade and security. 

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: “We did have an opportunity, both the Prime Minister and I had an opportunity to have a number of conversations with both the President Elect now President Arevalo and his foreign minister Carlos. So we had an opportunity to talk freely and I think you know we certainly are hopeful that there’s an opportunity to improve relations between Belize and Guatemala. As you know President Arevalo after the elections but before he was sworn in visited Belize and had an opportunity to speak with the Prime Minister and then foreign minister Courtenay along with his foreign minister designate at the time. So I think there’s a willingness on both sides to have a better relationship, a stronger relationship, a deeper relationship. I think the two key areas as I mentioned earlier are trade and security. We think there is great potential for increased and improved trade between Belize and Guatemala. Guatemala obviously is a very big, a large market so I think that’s an area that we are very optimistic about and we certainly want to discuss much more with the Guatemalans in terms of agriculture and perhaps other products so that’s a key area. And then of course security, security is always an issue. We remain committed to trying to arrive at a Sarstoon protocol. We believe that’s critically important so that there are no misunderstandings. We can’t wait in our view, in Belize’s view, we can’t wait until the outcome of the ICJ. We should be working together now to address concerns that exist on the ground and certainly in the Sarstoon that’s one of the areas that we’re very concerned about. So we are still hoping that we can arrive at a protocol with the Guatemalans on the Sarstoon.”

Fonseca expounded on the importance of their visit, the need for greater cooperation, as well as the turbulence this past weekend that delayed the presidential swearing-in in Guatemala.  

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: “So we as a government, the Prime Minister and myself wanted to signal very clearly to the international community that we stand on the side of rule of law and democracy. And we also wanted of course to go there because it’s important even though we have a process that’s underway in terms of resolving finding a final and lasting resolution to the unfounded Guatemalan claim before the ICJ even though that process is underway it’s important for Belize and Guatemala to maintain cordial respectful relations especially in the areas of trade and security those are two vitally important areas. So those are the two primary reasons we wanted to go there. We wanted to show our support for the newly elected president of Guatemala His Excellency Bernardo Arevalo and his Vice President. So you know it was quite an experience, up close and personal seeing really the dark side if you’d like of democracy at work. You know as I think everyone now knows inauguration itself was delayed for many hours. We were scheduled to attend the inauguration at 3pm on Sunday in Guatemala that kept being pushed back eventually we really the word was that there would be no inauguration on Sunday so around 6:30 or so we got notice that the inauguration would take place they said at 8:30 so the Prime Minister and I went to the assembly building where they were holding the inauguration for 8:30. We had all the other heads of government and foreign ministers and other dignitaries there including the President Elect and members of his Cabinet were there waiting and we waited for several hours. It wasn’t until 11:30 that they finally received notice that the assembly, the congress had formally agreed and ratified by vote that the inauguration process could take place.”

The idea of a Sarstoon Protocol came about in May 2016 when a high-level meeting was held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Related post

Heroic Mother and Neighbors Thwart Attempted Child Abduction in Belize City

Heroic Mother and Neighbors Thwart Attempted Child Abduction in…

Police would not confirm if they have levied charges against the man who allegedly attempted to abduct a 5-year-old child in…
Fake Lands Officer Scams Dozens Out of $250,000

Fake Lands Officer Scams Dozens Out of $250,000

Tonight there are reports reaching our newsroom of a case where one woman was able to dupe dozens of persons posing…
Attorney Oscar Selgado Begs for Mercy After Being Found Guilty of Abetment to Commit Murder

Attorney Oscar Selgado Begs for Mercy After Being Found…

Attorney Oscar Selgado was back in court today where he reportedly apologized to Marilyn Barnes for the ordeal she has had…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *