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Belize and Guatemala begin negotiations at OAS over Sarstoon River dispute
Published on June 23, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

The disputed section of the Belize-Guatemala border at the mouth of the Sarstoon River. Image: Amandala

WASHINGTON, USA -- Delegations from Belize and Guatemala, headed by their respective foreign ministers, met on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, with Secretary General Luis Almagro to begin to negotiate the terms of a cooperation mechanism for the Sarstoon River, as had been agreed by the parties in Istanbul, Turkey, where they met within the framework of the World Humanitarian Summit on May 23-24, 2016.

Guatemala has been claiming and exercising sovereignty over the entire Sarstoon River, including the Belize side, which has become the latest flashpoint of Guatemala’s territorial claim to a large part of Belize.

The General Secretariat of the OAS said that "good progress" was made during the meeting, which reportedly concentrated on the development of best practices for the de-escalation of tensions in the Sarstoon River.

The meeting was held with the full participation of the secretary general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, and his staff and was attended by the relevant institutions involved in the process. The ministers were accompanied by the commanders of the Belize Defence Force and of the Guatemalan Army, the countries' ambassadors to the White House, and the permanent representatives to the OAS, among other high ranking diplomats.
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