Guatemala's claim to Belize's territory poses an existential threat: Foreign Minister Erlington

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Wilfred ELRINGTON, Attorney General, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize

Topping the list of domestic priorities for the Government of Belize is a resolution of Guatemala's claim to Belizean territory, Foreign Minister Wilfered Elrington told the General Assembly on Monday.

He said this claim poses an existential threat to the nation and requires urgent resolution if the peoples of the  two countries and the region are to continue to enjoy the peaceful coexistence that has characterized their relationship thus far.

Foreign Minister Elrington said the Guatemalan claim is a constant source of anxiety to the citizens of Belize, as well as to investors in the country.

“Furthermore, both our territorial and our maritime border regions have been suffering from depredation and environment degradation in consequence of the wanton and sustained illegal activities of Guatemalans, fishermen and other criminal elements engaged in narco-trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, illegal panning for gold, the extraction of Xate and other exotic plants and animals, the illegal felling of timber and the pillaging of our ancient Mayan ruins. The felling of timber in our rainforest areas are contributing to the denuding of our mountains which result in violent flooding in the rainy season and the transmission of top soil sand and silt into the sea.” (47″)

Belize's Foreign Minister Wilfred Erlington said these soils are then ultimately deposited into the pristine barrier reef choking and destroying the fragile eco-systems therein, and compromising the health of the entire reef and the marine ecological system thriving therein.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration:  1’35″


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