United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon salutes the progress made by Belize and Guatemala under the auspices of the Organization of American States to resolve their longstanding territorial dispute, according to his spokesperson.
"He welcomes their decision to hold simultaneous referenda on Oct 6, 2013 to consult their populations on referring the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)," the spokesperson added in a news statement.
According to media reports, over the years, the long-running dispute between the two Central American countries has led to tensions.
The spokesperson noted that Belize and Guatemala have requested financial support from the international community for the referenda and possible eventual legal proceedings.
"The Secretary-General believes that this process is in line with the objective of pacific settlement of disputes enshrined in the United Nations Charter and merits international support," the spokesperson added.
Established in 1945 under the UN Charter, the ICJ - sometimes referred to as the World Court - settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by authorized UN organs or specialized agencies.