OAS Process

In March 2000, the governments of Belize and Guatemala restarted talks on their longstanding territorial differendum, under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States. On November 8, 2000, Belize and Guatemala signed the first Agreement on Confidence Building Measures, through which the two parties agreed to respect an “Adjacency Line” between each country and an "Adjacency Zone" extending one kilometer east and west from this line. On February 7, 2003, the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala signed a second Agreement to Establish a Transition Process and Confidence-Building Measures, which was later amended in September 2005 through "Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence-Building Measures between Belize and Guatemala”. Central to the second agreement was the establishment of the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone for the purpose of fostering community-to-community contacts across the Adjacency Line and verifying any transgression of the established confidence-building measures and any incidents which may occur in that Zone. The Agreement also called for the establishment of a Group of Friends of the Belize-Guatemala Transition Process (the “Group of Friends”), consisting of OAS Member and Observer States, and others interested in supporting a peaceful resolution to the territorial differendum. The Group of Friends acts as an advisory body to the Secretary General and provides political and operational support for undertaking the various activities contemplated under the agreement on confidence-building measures in force.

Following signature of the 2005 Agreement, two ministerial meetings took place. At the second such meeting, in February 2006, the Secretary General proposed that the negotiation process concerning the territorial differendum begin with the maritime zone. For this aspect of the differendum, the Government of Honduras was invited to participate. A Negotiating Group was formed, which met on several occasions at both the ministerial and technical level, coordinated and facilitated by the Secretary General’s Special Representative. Unfortunately, after almost two years of negotiations, in which a certain degree of rapprochement was achieved, the Parties failed to reach an agreement. The Secretary General therefore recommended that the most appropriate venue for resolving the differendum would be the International Court of Justice. Both countries assented and on December 8, 2008, the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala signed, at OAS headquarters, the “Special Agreement between Guatemala and Belize to submit the territorial, insular and maritime claim of Guatemala to the International Court of Justice.

On April 27, 2012, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Belize and Guatemala met with the OAS Secretary General in Washington, D.C., and agreed that the simultaneous referenda to submit Guatemala’s claim to the International Court of Justice would be held on Sunday, October 6, 2013. On that occasion, both governments requested the support of the General Secretariat for the education and sensitization campaigns that will be launched to inform the people of both Belize and Guatemala about the up coming differendum process as well as the advantages of submitting the dispute to the ICJ and the disadvantage if it is not submitted.

The final decision to take the case to the ICJ must be confirmed through national referenda in both countries. Following a failed attempt at holding the referenda in 2013, the countries agreed to create the appropriate conditions so that a new date for holding the referenda could be fixed. To this end, on January 24th, 2014, the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala, together with the Secretary General of the OAS, signed the Roadmap Agreement for Strengthening Bilateral Relations and established the Belize- Guatemala Joint Commission to explore and develop projects and programs between the two countries, with the goal of strengthening the ties of friendship and cooperation between them. The objective of the Road Map was to disengage the issue of the differendum from the urgent need to consolidate the bilateral relationship for the sake of regional cooperation and integration. Under this framework, sixteen bilateral agreements (thirteen formal and three informal) were negotiated and dozens of bilateral meetings among different sectors of society took place. This was a historic step that was accomplished within less than 12 months, which culminated in December 2014. For the first time in history, Belize and Guatemala sat down to normalize their good neighborly relations by formalizing how they will work together in the future on a vast number of issues of common interest and concern. The success of these efforts was key to continue to move the process forward. As a result, on May 25, 2015 the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala signed the Protocol to the Special Agreement with the OAS Secretary General as witness. This Protocol enables Belize and Guatemala to hold the referenda either simultaneously or separately on the date that is more convenient to each of the Parties.

Thanks to the support of the OAS through the Peace Fund, Belize and Guatemala are closer than ever to finding a permanent solution to their centuries-old conflict.

Belize and Guatemala Agree on Roadmap to Strengthen Confidence Building Measures

Group of Friends

GERMANY
Argentina
Brazil
Canada
Costa Rica
Ecuador
El Salvador
European Union
Spain
United States
Honduras
Jamaica
Japan
Mexico
Nicaragua
Norway
Panama
United Kingdom
Sweden
Uruguay

Relevant Documents

Agreements

  • The Agreement on Confidence Building Measures, July 17-20, 2000

    English Español
  • The Agreement on Confidence Building Measures, November 8 2000

    English Español
  • Agreement on Procedures, February 7, 2001

    Español
  • Agreement to Establish a Transition Process and Confidence Building Measures, February 7, 2003

    English Español
  • Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence Building Measures, September 7, 2005

    English Español
  • Special Agreement, December 8, 2008

    English Español
  • Guatemalan Congress Approves Special Agreement, September 9, 2010

    English Español
  • Road Map Agreement and Plan of Action, January 24, 2014

    English Español
  • Summarizing the 13 Agreements between Belize and Guatemala Signed, 17 December 2014

    English Español
  • Protocol to Amend the Special Agreement, May 25, 2015

    English Español

Agreements signed on December 17th in Placencia, Belize

  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On The Harmonization Of Operating Hours At Legal Terrestrial Entry Points

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala For The Protection, Conservation, Recovery And Return Of Items Of Cultural And Natural Patrimony Which Have Been Stolen, Pilfered, Looted, Exported, Imported Or Trafficked Unlawfully

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On The Mutual Recognition Of Driver’S Licence

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On Equivalency Of Studies And The Recognition Of Educational Documents

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On Electric Power Trade, Transmission Interconnection And Grid Connectivity

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala For The Protection Of The Environment And The Sustainable Use Of Resources

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On Expedited Deportation

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On The Movement Of Students Through Terrestrial Ports Of Entry

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala For The Serving Of Penal Sentences

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On Programme For Seasonal Workers

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala On The Recovery And Return Of Vehicles Stolen, Confiscated Or Impounded Illegall Y Or Inappropria Tely

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala To Facilitate The Issuance Of Student Visas

    English Español
  • Agreement Between Belize And The Republic Of Guatemala For Sustainable Tourism

    English Español

Press Release

  • Press Release for the Recommendations by the Panel of Facilitators, December 19, 2001

    English Español

Resolutions

Forum/Events

  • Oral Presentation Made by Belize, May 20-21, 2001

    English

Letters

  • Guatemala’s Response to the February 7th Panel of Facilitators letter, March 30, 2001

    English Español
  • Letter of the Chairs of the Mixed Commission to the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala, April 25, 2001

    Español
  • Group of Friends Letter Including Sweden, June 23, 2003

    English
  • OAS Secretary General's Recommendation, November 19, 2007

    English Español
  • Belize’s Acceptance Letter to the Secretary General's Recommendation, May 30, 2008

    English
  • Guatemala’s Acceptance Letter to the Secretary General's Recommendation, June 16, 2008

    Español
  • Ministerial Letter November 28 2011

    English Español

Documents

  • International Organization for Migration Adjacency Zone Census, February 19, 2001

    Español
  • International Organization for Migration Adjacency Zone Census Report, May 9, 2002

    Español
  • Facilitators Terms of Reference 2000

    English Español
  • Joint Communiqué, August 31, 2000

    English Español
  • Action Plan, January 16-17, 2001

    English Español
  • Pan-American Institute of Geography and History, February 6, 2001

    English
  • Panel of Facilitators, February 7, 2001

    English Español
  • Belize’s Response to Guatemala’s Statement, April 30, 2001

    English
  • Guatemala’s Rejoinder to Belize’s Note, May 15, 2001

    Español
  • Recommendations of the Facilitators, July 18, 2001

    Español
  • Facilitators’ Proposal, August 30, 2002

    English Español
  • Establishment of the Group of Friends of Belize and Guatemala, May 30, 2003

    English
  • Joint Declaration, December 8, 2008

    English Español
  • Establishment of the High Level Working Group, December 17, 2009

    English Español
  • Establishment of the date to hold simultaneous Referenda, April 27, 2012

    English Español
  • Declaration of Support for Belize & Guatemala approved at the General Assembly, June 14, 2016

    Español

SPEECHES

  • Speech of Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the OAS at the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Vienna, Austria (October 28th, 2010)
    English
  • Address to the Permanent Council Inter-American Democratic Charter, Washington, DC (May 6, 2010)
    English
  • Speech by the Secretary General of the OAS, Mr. José Miguel Insulza at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Thirty-Ninth Regular Session of the General Assembly. San Pedro Sula, Honduras (June 2, 2009)
    English
  • OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, at the Signing of the Special Agreement (December 8th, 2008)
    English
  • Speech of the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza at the Opening Session of the Thirty-Eighth Regular Session of the General Assembly, Medellín, Colombia (June 1, 2008)
    English
  • César Gaviria Trujillo, OAS Secretary General at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Roberto Tovar Faja, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, representing the pro tempore presidency of the Central American Integration System (SICA) at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Jorge Castañeda, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Guillermo Pérez Cadalzo Arias, Secretary of State of Honduras at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Gabriel Orellana Rojas, Foreign Minister of Guatemala at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Ulrik Federspiel, Permanent Observer to the OAS on behalf of the European Union at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    English
  • Enrique Iglesias, President of the Inter-American Development Bank at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Ambassador Eduardo Gutierrez, Permanent Observer of Spain to the OAS at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Ambassador Humberto de la Calle, Colombia, representing the pro tempore presidency of the Andean Community of Nations at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Denis MacShane, Parlamentary Under-Secretary of State of the United Kingdom at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    English
  • Colin L. Powell, US Secretary of State at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    English
  • María Eugenia Brizuela de Avila, Foreign Minister of El Salvador at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    Español
  • Assad Shoman, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Belize at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    English
  • Ambassador Paul Durand, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OAS at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    English
  • Ambassador Odeen Ishmael of Guyana, representing the presidency pro tempore of CARICOM at the Closing Ceremony of the Facilitation Process between Belize and Guatemala (September 30th 2002)
    English
GERMANY
Argentina
Brazil
Canada
Costa Rica
Ecuador
El Salvador
European Union
Spain
United States
Honduras
Jamaica
Japan
Mexico
Nicaragua
Norway
Panama
United Kingdom
Sweden
Uruguay