According to a release, in a cordial atmosphere Prime Minister Dean Barrow and President Elect Jimmy Morales congratulated each other for their respective recent victories at the polls. They discussed the bilateral relations between Belize and Guatemala, including a way forward in respect of resolving our historical differences. According to Barrow, they agreed to continue along the path set out in the Framework Agreement and Confidence Building Measures of 2005 for expanding functional cooperation between the two countries, and each committed to strengthen the processes that already exist for good neighbourly relations so that the two countries may continue to live in peace and as friends pending a legal resolution of the territorial dispute..
“We spoke about the nature of the bilateral relations. He indicated that he is committed to working the process; I told him that I appreciated that. He must understand that the pencil of God has no eraser, we are going to be geographically contiguous, we are going to be neighbors forever. There are mechanisms in place, the professional relationship, I think is good between the militaries, between our Foreign Ministries, the people to people interaction is good, there are trade ties, there are ties of commerce, there are educational exchanges. We spoke about the children from Melchor who come across to go to school in Benque and I was very clear that both sides needed to understand that the confidence building measures, the protocolS in place and the all important factor of good will all must be put into the pot, stirred properly to ensure that we avoid flash points, to ensure that we can live in peace and good neighborliness, respecting each other’s sovereignty, while the question of the dispute or claim is being resolved by legal means or otherwise.”
“Was there any discussion with the ICJ?”
“No, because when I said that the matter would need to be resolved peacefully and by way of legal means, I believe we all know that the legal mechanism, the legal function, the legal arrangement that we are talking about is the ICJ; providing both populations agree by way of the referendums; that would have to be held. So we didn’t get into any detail in terms of the ICJ. He has to settle in, we have to be very sure that in terms of any referendum time table it is a time table that suits Belize and so I didn’t think this was the time to start discussing that sort of detail.”
During his campaign, Morales had told Guatemalan media that he would do everything to recover Belize. PM Barrow explained that Morales’s comments did not form part of the discussion during his visit.
“He’s walked back from those comments before arriving in Belize and this morning I was quite clear, as was he, that we are talking about proceeding on the basis of mutual respect; two foreign countries operating a set of mechanisms because there is a dispute but operating both on the basis of their individual sovereignty and commitment based on that sovereignty.”
President-elect Jimmy Morales had indicated from as early as November 6 2015 to Belize’s Ambassador, Alexis Rosado to Guatemala that he intended to pay a courtesy call on the Prime Minister as part of a visit he is making to all Heads of State and Government of SICA member countries and Mexico. So according to Barrow, the government was never trying to keep his visit a secret.
“There is no question of any secrecy. We sent out a press release which you will get later. He indicated, though I’ve also seen the media saying Belize is an afterthought, that he wasn’t intending on coming and then just at the last minute …. He met with Ambassador Alexis Rosado on the sixth of November, two days after the elections and from then indicated that Belize is part of the itinerary. I’ve seen situations before where things are said, people indicate they are coming to visit and then it doesn’t happen. We were not going to say anything until we had a firm date. It was earlier this week, I believe, that they said the first Friday and then that changed because it appeared that the Mexicans were going to detain him longer than had been anticipated and so, we did not actually know for sure whether it was going to be Friday or Saturday until yesterday and when that was confirmed, we sent out a press release.
President. -elect Morales extended a special and personal invitation to Prime Minister Barrow to the presidential inauguration in January 2016 and Prime Minister expressed that he has every intention on attending. Morales was accompanied by Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Carlos Raul Morales; the President-elect’s Diplomatic Liaison Officer, Rodrigo Colmenares; Guatemalan Ambassador in Belize, Estuardo Roldan; and Ms. Sandra Hovel, Director of Integration. The Prime Minister was accompanied in the meeting by CEO in the Prime Minister’s Office, Audrey Wallace; CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Lawrence Sylvester; and Ambassador of Belize in Guatemala, Alexis Rosado.