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Texas Garifuna-Belizeans Community

Published for & by the Garifuna-Belizean Community of  Killeen/Texas

ISSUE NUMBER:  002-2000                          September 2000

Hey!!"They're Talking"


Washington D.C, August 31, 2000

The Delegations of Belize and Guatemala attended today with great satisfaction and optimism the installation of the Panel of Facilitators at the Headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), which will assist both of our governments in resolving our territorial differendum. We are confident that the participation of Sir Shridath Ramphal and Mr. Paul Reichler, and with the additional support of the Secretary General of the OAS, César Gaviria, we will be able to reach an agreement on this matter that has long divided two neighbors.  Following the installation ceremony, we held a meeting to review the progress that has been made to date and to discuss the future steps of the dialogue aimed at achieving a definitive resolution of the territorial differendum. In particular, the Defense Ministerial meeting, held August 12, 2000, and the first session of the Mixed Commission, held August 28, 2000, were discussed. After a positive and productive discussion, we agreed on the following procedural matters:

All issues related to the territorial differendum will be addressed by both Parties solely within the framework of this process while it is underway, to the exclusion of any other political, diplomatic, or judicial forum.

In order to protect and consolidate this process, both Parties will exercise caution and restraint in the treatment of all issues related to the differendum, and in particular, they will cooperate to avoid incidents on the ground conducive to tension between them.

Maintaining peace and finding a solution to the differendum are the supreme goals of both States. Each State will act in good faith. Furthermore, each State will act based on the principles of due process and mutual respect.

The Panel of Facilitators will be responsible for guiding the process and shall have the broadest freedom to interpret the documents signed on July 20, 2000, and to make recommendations.  During the week of September 18 to 22, 2000, the Panel of Facilitators will visit both countries to gain a broader understanding of the issues.

Prior to the visit, both Parties will present to the Panel of Facilitators, proposals for measures designed to avoid incidents on the ground which could generate tensions between them.

After the visit, the Panel, in consultation with the Secretary General, will suggest the date and location for the next Ministerial meeting.

To Accept the Panel's recommendation that in future meetings, both delegations include representatives of their respective militaries.

To request that the international community provide assistance and cooperation in support of this process.

To accept the generous offer of the Secretary General to lend technical and logistical support to the Panel of Facilitators.

We reiterate our deep gratitude to the Secretary General for the invaluable support he has provided to our negotiations, and for his willingness to continue this assistance.

Assad Shoman
Senior Ambassador with Ministerial Rank

Gabriel Orellana Rojas
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Members of Belize Mixed Commission

The Prime Minister, Hon. Said Musa, has appointed five persons to represent Belize on the Mixed Commission established at the Ministerial Meeting held between Belize and the Republic of Guatemala at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., in July of this year.  The Mixed Commission, which comprises five Commissioners each from Belize and Guatemala, will receive and implement proposals for confidence-building measures aimed at promoting permanent friendly
relations and cooperation between the two nations.  The Mixed Commission will also submit proposals of its own to the Governments and the Panel of Facilitators of the negotiating process.  Areas to be addressed include educational and cultural exchanges, trade promotion, tourism development, counter-narcotics operation, natural resources management and others identified by the Panel of Facilitators and approved by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.

The Belizean side of the Mixed Commission is headed by His Excellency, Ambassador James Murphy, and includes the Hon. Erwin Contreras, Area Representative for Cayo West, Mr. Godwin Hulse, Managing Director of Forest Drive Enterprise Inc., Ms. Lois Young-Barrow, of the Lois Young-Barrow and Co. Law Firm and Dr. Ludwig Palacio of the University of Belize, Punta Gorda campus.

Facilitators of Guatemala dispute selected

The panel of facilitators who will assist Belize and Guatemala in their negotiations to end the Guatemalan claim were officially installed at the O.A.S. in Washington D.C.on August 31st.are the following:  Sir Shridath Ramphal of Guyana, appointed by Belize and Dr. Paul Reichler of the USA, nominated by Guatemala. The ceremony was witnessed by OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria and attended by delegation heads Ambassador Assad Shoman of Belize and Foreign Minister Gabriel Orellana of Guatemala. With the two countries' mixed commission now in place and the outside facilitators on board, it is believed that one day the two sides may actually sit down and begin to engage in real negotiations.

Belize/Guatemala Defence Ministerial Concluded

Press Releases
14 August, 2000
Office of the Prime Minister

The Minister of National Security and Economic Development, Hon. Jorge Espat, announces the successful conclusion of the First Defence/Ministerial Meeting between Belize and Guatemala.  The meeting and related events were held at the Coral Sand Center - Belize Yacht Club in San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye on the 11th and 12th August 2000 and are a direct result of the recent round of talks held in Washington, D.C. between Belize and Guatemala.  The Guatemalan delegation was hosted by Minister Espat at a reception and dinner which was attended by the Area Representative, Hon. Patricia Arceo, the Mayor of San Pedro Town, Mr. Alberto Nuñez Sr., several other Belizean citizens and the six representatives of the Costa Maya pageant.

Agreements arising from the discussion included the exchange of military attaches' by October 15th, 2000, clear lines of communication between the two Defence Ministers, high level military-to-military meetings every six months and other aspects of military confidence-building measures.  Further information or queries may be obtained from the Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of National Security, Alan Usher, tel: 08-22225.

So..."Talk, Belize...."

...but keep those Guards Up...


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