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The Role of the OAS in the Dispute between Belize and Guatemala

  May 28, 2015

• The OAS has actively supported the search for a solution to the dispute since 2000 and provides, through its Peace Fund, political and technical support to both countries with the objective of ending a territorial differendum that has its origins in colonial history.

• In 2000, under the auspices of the OAS, the two countries restarted talks on the differendum and agreed to create an Adjacency Line between the countries and an Adjacency Zone, extending one kilometer east and west of this line.

• In 2003, the Agreement to Establish a Transition Process and Confidence-Building Measures was signed (replaced in 2005 by the Agreement on a Framework for Negotiations and Confidence-Building Measures between Belize and Guatemala), by which the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone was established.

• The objective of the OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone is to foster community-to-community contacts across the Adjacency Line and verify any transgression of the signed agreements and any potential incidents.

• The OAS Office in the Adjacency Zone operates as a civilian peace mission along 215 km of terrain. Since its creation it has maintained peace in the Adjacency Zone and since its establishment there have been no confrontations between the military forces of the two countries.

• The same agreement in 2003 established the Group of Friends of the Belize-Guatemala Transition Process, consisting of OAS member and observer states, that acts as an advisory body to the Secretary General and provides support for the various confidence-building activities contemplated under the agreements.

• In December 2008 the two governments signed, under the auspices of the OAS, the Special Agreement to submit the territorial, insular and maritime claim of Guatemala to the International Court of Justice. In this agreement, which has formed the basis of subsequent conversations, the two countries committed to submit to simultaneous referenda the decision to accept the jurisdiction of the Court.

• On May 25, 2015, the Protocol to the Special Agreement between Belize and Guatemala was signed, an amendment to the agreement signed in 2008 that allows for the holding of non-simultaneous referenda.

More information is available here

Reference: S-012/15