Guatemala to soften claim on neighboring country

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Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt has said his government will drop its demand for sovereignty over all of the neighboring former British colony of Belize during talks with Britain later this month.

President Rios Montt said his government would press instead for ownership of the southernmost fifth of Belize. The claimed area, known as the Toledo district , is a sparsely settled mountain region holding 12,000 people, predominantly Indians. Belize, with a population of 150,000, gained independence in 1981 after more than 300 years of British rule.

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