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Will there be a Sarstoon Protocol?

The question as to why a protocol to manage the Sarstoon has still not been drafted, lingers to this day.  Despite the commitment by both Belize and Guatemala officials in a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, the two parties are yet to carry through with it.  In an interview with the then Foreign Minister for Guatemala, Carlos Raul Morales, the relations between the two parties went south shortly after that agreement when a Guatemalan child died in the Chiquibul.

Foreign Minister of Guatemala: “I cannot talk for authority because I am in not anymore an  authority and as you know I am with Guatemala. In that moment I made a commitment with Minister Elrington that we’d stop this commitment when we have this incident where this guy who you might know his name was thirteen years old. The atmosphere in Guatemala was terrible and most of the Guatemalan population was upset at this incident because you cannot justify the death of a child of thirteen years old. At this moment we have to stop this commitment because this is what is right and more fair. Now I went out of my position maybe a year and a half ago or something like that but in any case the idea to go to the ICJ is to define this border. The Sarstoon has to be defined by the ICJ too because according to the documents we read it could be the border between both countries but it has to the be the ICJ to be the one to define but to answer your question we stopped with this commitment because the faith of both countries was terrible and there is no way to justify the death of a child of the thirteen years old.”

While Morales is no longer a member of the Guatemalan government, he told a group of Belizean reporters that the protocol is important but not as important as settling the matter at the International Court of Justice.

Foreign Minister of Guatemala: The death of the kid is terrible and I invite you to remember what we experience at that moment. I hate it because with Mr. Elrington at that moment we tried to build a good relation between both countries and we promised each other to not provoke any kinds of incidents and just to let the people know better than the other population but a death of a kid of thirteen years old disturbed the atmosphere between both countries. You remember the Ambassador of Guatemala to Belize was recalled to Guatemala for almost two years until thank God today we have an Ambassador in Belize. I think we need to build again and we need to promise ourself and promise both countries in these kinds of incidents because everytime we have an incident we have this kind of effects in the political arena of the countries. The feelings of the people: they took it very harsh, it is only normal. The same would happen if we killed a Belizean kid or a Belizean person. This is why we need to respect the life of people in both countries, doesn’t matter if you are poor or rich whatever Police or farmer. The idea is to respect our population and try to build from that aspect a good relationship between countries but I can assure that today Guatemala wants peace and we already showed it at the referendum last year. What we need to do right now is to take the other step and together try to build this national peace between two countries.”

Morales was interviewed this afternoon at the Belize Embassy in Guatemala City.