The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, today wholeheartedly welcomed the announcement that Belize and Guatemala have reached agreement ending their longstanding territorial controversy.
A statement issued by Mr. Annan's spokesman at UN Headquarters in New York expressed the Secretary-General's "firm belief" that bringing this matter to closure is a key step in creating conditions for stability and sustainable development, and encouraged the people of both countries to endorse the settlement agreement.
Calling the development "historic," the spokesman noted that under the agreement's terms, 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, multi-cultural and multi-lingual societies striving to provide their citizens with just and equitable living conditions. "This groundbreaking accord sets an example for the region, and offers hope that other such disputes can also be resolved promptly and peaceably," the statement said.
The Secretary-General also congratulated both Governments for their leadership and vision and commended their designated Facilitators and the Organization of American States, under whose auspices the process was conducted.