The People’s United Party has responded to comments made by the Foreign Minister of Guatemala, Carlos Raul Morales. During his comments while in Belize, Morales said as part of the confidence building measures, both countries took the decision to not increase the military basis in the vicinity of both countries.
“We agreed on the confidence building measures the first one in 2000 and the second one in 2005; we took the decision to not increase the military bases in the vicinity of both countries with the objective to avoid incidents and this is important to understand and we agreed to work together on our security initiative. This morning His Excellency Minister Elrington, we had a very good meeting and he told me that this is not going to be a military base, it is going to be a coast guard base that depends on the police. We agreed this morning to work on a protocol between both countries to have control of this area south near the Sarstoon Island, and again what we are trying to do is to apply the agreement that we signed in 2005 to not increase the military presence in the area in the vicinity of the countries to avoid incidents.”
A joint release by former Prime Minister Said Musa and former Foreign Ministers, Godfrey Smith, Eamon Courtney and Lisa Shoman disputes those claims. The release states neither the 2000 nor the 2005 instruments on the confidence building measures contain or state anything at all about military bases in either country. They say no decision or agreement was ever made with Guatemala, in the years 1998 to February 2008 by the Government of Belize with regard to increasing or removing military bases in either country. It goes on to say the mechanism to avoid incidents in the confidence building measures included the undertaking by Guatemala to dissuade its citizens from trying to settle in Belize, a mechanism to remove all illegal Guatemalan settlers in Belize and a protocol for OAS verification where necessary. It never included any decision or directive in respect of any military base or any other manner of operation of operation post, conservation post of forward operating base. The release ends by saying there never was any commitment made between 1998 and 2008 by Guatemala to Belize in respect of its own military bases and any decisions made by them with respect to the same, were made unilaterally.