18/09/2002
Press Release
SG/SM/8390
CA/25



SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES BELIZE-GUATEMALA AGREEMENT


ENDING TERRITORIAL DISPUTE


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:


The Secretary-General wholeheartedly welcomes the announcement that Belize and Guatemala have reached agreement ending their long-standing territorial controversy.


He wishes to congratulate both Governments for their leadership and vision in reaching this historic settlement.  He also commends their designated Facilitators and the Organization of American States, under whose auspices the process was conducted.  This groundbreaking accord sets an example for the region, and offers hope that other such disputes can also be resolved promptly and peaceably.


He notes that under the terms of the agreement, referenda are to be held in coming weeks in both countries, leading to a treaty concluding a controversy which has delayed regional integration.  In addition to their shared history on the Central American isthmus, Belize and Guatemala are both multi-ethnic, multicultural and multilingual societies striving to provide their citizens with just and equitable living conditions.  In the firm belief that bringing this issue to closure is a key step in creating conditions for stability and sustainable development, he strongly encourages the people of both countries to endorse this settlement agreement.


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