HL Deb 26 October 1977 vol 386 cc1228-30WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made at the talks in Guatemala City on the future of Belize; and whether further negotiations are contemplated.


The talks in Guatemala City were held in a constructive and candid atmosphere. It was agreed that negotiations would continue. The text of the Joint Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the talks on 28th July was as follows:

"In accordance with the agreement reached in Washington DC between representatives of the Governments of Guatemala and Great Britain on 6th and 7th July during a third round of Ministerial negotiations on the question of Belize, Mr. Ted Rowlands, MP, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office visited Guatemala between 26th and 28th July. As agreed in Washington, the purpose of Mr. Rowlands' visit was to discuss the means of reducing tension as well as the next steps in the negotiations.

"During his visit, Mr. Rowlands had meetings with the President of the Republic, General Kjell Eugenio Laugerud, and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Adolfo Molina Orantes. During these meetings, which were held in a cordial and constructive spirit, the present state of the controversy over Belize between Guatemala and the United Kingdom was discussed. The following was agreed:

  1. (1) "The parties renewed their firm intention of continuing the process of negotiations with a view to finding mutually acceptable solutions, taking into account the concerns of the parties, in accordance with the peaceful means recognised by international law. For this purpose, they will male every effort to create a positive atmosphere conducive to the progress of such negotiations.
  2. (2) "Such negotiations will be pursued actively through further detailed consultations and meetings between the parties.
  3. (3) "Both parties recognised the need to find a quick, just and honourable solution to the controversy.
  4. (4) "Both parties noted with concern the increased tension which had developed over recent months in relation to Belize and devoted a great deal of their discussions to the question of the means of reducing this tension. Particular and special attention was paid to the border area where it could be feared that incidents or misunderstandings could lead to greater tension and might endanger the situation. In this regard both sides agreed to make special efforts to ensure that such incidents should not occur.
  5. (5) "Both parties agreed that it was of mutual interest to preserve the security and peace of the area.
  6. (6) "Steps should be taken to develop means of communication between the two Governments with a view to improving mutual understanding.
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  8. (7) "Mr. Rowlands reiterated the British willingness to take into full account the vital interests of Guatemala in the solution of the controversy. Dr. Molina, for his part, expressed the determination of the Government of Guatemala to take into full account the vital interests of the people of Belize."