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LatinNews Daily - 04 April 2019

In brief: Belize/Guatemala

* A Belizean judge has suspended a national referendum which was due to take place on 10 April on whether to agree to the territorial dispute between Guatemala and Belize being submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for adjudication. The judge accepted an appeal by the opposition People’s United Party (PUP) which questioned the legality of the procedure under which the United Democratic Party (UDP) government led by Prime Minister Dean Barrow launched the referendum. The government is pushing for the 'Yes' vote. The PUP has also campaigned against the vote on the grounds that voters are unprepared for such a momentous decision. In April 2018, Guatemala voted in a national referendum to refer its territorial claim over Belize to the ICJ. Belize is committed under the terms of a 2008 agreement to holding a similar referendum, and if its electorate reaches the same conclusion as the Guatemalan voters then the case will go to the ICJ. The dispute is over Guatemala’s claim to more than 12,772km² of adjacent land and sea stretching from south of Sibun up to the Sarstoon River and including many of its coastal cayes.