Ministry of Foreign
Settlements Verified to be outside Adjacency Zone
Belmopan - 13 February, 2001.
Settlements Verified to be outside Adjacency Zone Belmopan - 13 February, 2001 Three Guatemalan
settlements, located at Rio Blanco, Machaquila and Valentin
Camp are indeed outside the Adjacency Zone, on the eastern
This was verified
by measurements taken by the Pan
American Institute of
Geography and History which were presented
to delegations from Belize and Guatemala on February 7th at the
American States headquarters
in Washington DC during a planning meeting for the upcoming
examination of Guatemala’s territorial claim to Belize.
The facilitators of the negotiations,
Sir Shridath Ramphal
and Paul Reichler, agreed to examine the survey data
and make a determination after the head
of the Belizean delegation Ambassador Assad
Shoman told them it would be difficult for Belize to
proceed on with the meeting’s previously scheduled agenda without addressing
this outstanding issue.
of the settlement at Machaquila in January lead to increased
tensions between Belize and Guatemala, since both parties
had agreed in November to “confidence building measures” which
included the designation
of an adjacency line between the two countries and
banning new settlements within the surrounding adjacency zone.
The zone extends one kilometre to the east and one
kilometre to the west of the line.
agreement also includes protocols for removing any settlers
who venture into the zone after October 1, 2001.
At an emergency meeting in mid-January, Belize and
Guatemala agreed to
assist the Pan American Institute of Geography and
History (PAIGH, an OAS affiliate of which Belize is a member,
to determine the coordinates of the reference markers at
Gracias a Dios, Garbutt’s Falls and Aguas Turbias, and to
identify the Adjacency Line and Adjacency Zone along those
The parties also
agreed to accept the Institute’s findings and the facilitators’
decision on the settlements in question.
As it turns out,
Belize was correct in its belief, based on Global Positioning System
(GPS) readings taken by members of the BDF, that the three settlements were outside
In fact only
one dwelling, located in Valentin Camp was determined by
to be inside the zone.
The next step
is for a joint commission --three members from Belize and
three from Guatemala--to take a census of the people in
question and to advise them that they must move to new locations
west of the adjacency line.
This must be
carried out within seven days of the signing of the agreement
government will compensate all settlers who comply for their
crops and buildings. The Belizean government will move those
who do not.
will be carried out using the protocols established in the
November agreement and both Belize and
agreed to work together to ensure a smooth and peaceful
movement of the people.
Both also agree
the removal of the settlements is essential to the progress
of the negotiating process and does not constitute or imply
any waiver of the sovereign rights or claims to the territory
To try and avoid
any future incidents, Guatemala has agreed to actively seek
to discourage its people from settling to the east of the
Adjacency Line and to publicize the data collected by the
PAIGH to ensure such incidents do not occur again.
The Belize Defense
force will continue to patrol outside the zone to discourage
A time frame
and procedure for Guatemala to present its territorial claim,
for Belize to respond, and for the merits of the arguments
of each side to be examined was established by the end of
the three days. The
first written submission will be made by Guatemala by March
delegation was headed by Ambassador Assad Shoman and includes
Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
David Gibson Ambassadors Lisa Shoman, Eamon Courtenay, Moises
Cal, Salvador Figueroa, Fred Martinez and Stuart Leslie.
13 Feb 2001: BDF
Prevents New Settlement and Discovers another Illegal Settlement
at Edwards Central.
15 Feb 2001: Religious Community unites on Guatemalan issue.
21 Feb 2001: New BDF recruits train in Pine Ridge.
5 March 2001: 3 Illegal Guatemalan Settlements Totally Cleared.
8 March 2001: Canadian High Commissioner to Belize visits National
13 Mar 2001: Declaration by the European Union on the Belize-Guatemala
dispute issued. New
British High Commissioner to Belize appointed.
16 March 2001: BDF recruits become soldiers.
27 Mar 2001: Action due soon on illegal settlement located at Edwards
Central. Belize Defence Force receives military equipment
from British Government.
Belize gains unequivocal support from ACP-EU Joint
2 Apr 2001: Taiwanese Navy makes goodwill visit.
17 Apr 2001: BDF Personnel participates in Exercise Tradewinds
in Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago.
Guatemala submitted the required statement on its territorial
claim to OAS as scheduled.
Belize’s due the
end of April 2001.
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