Inclusion of Guatemalan Navy to hopefully positively impact tensions in the Sarstoon
While Belize and Guatemala continue working towards settling the territorial differendum at the ICJ, incidents of contentious situations between the militaries of the two countries continue to happen on the Sarstoon. Belize Defence Force Commander, Brigadier General Azariel Loria, says that some of those contentions may have resulted from the exclusion of the Guatemalan Navy from bilateral security talks between the nations. Loria says that Belize’s military has reached out directly to the Guatemalan Navy, and the hopes are that doing so could positively impact interactions along the Sarstoon.
Brig. Gen. Azariel Loria, Commander, Belize Defence Force: “The Guatemalans, specifically the Guatemalan Navy. We have always had for some reason I believe that they feel left out of the confidence building measures because when we do our meetings, our monthly meetings and our tri-monthly our quarterly meetings with them we talk to the ground forces, to the army in specific and we do not for some reason they are not invited hence the reason we believe that because of that loss of communication with them they do what they do. But I think that Admiral Bennett went there to talk to them because Navy people, they understand each other better than they do with us. I believe that he went to Puerto Barrios and tried to talk to them. The result of such meeting I think that he sent it to the Ministry but it was something good and I’m so happy that they are now talking and the effects were going to feel it.”
In September, members of the Guatemalan Armed Forces came into Belize and removed flags placed on Sarstoon Island by the Belize Territorial Volunteers. It was only through interventions of the BDF that the flags were returned.////