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Guatemala: UN mission deplores funds transfers to Presidential Guard

Guatemala: UN mission deplores funds transfers to Presidential Guard

The United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) has deplored the transfer of funds to the country's Presidential Guard, calling instead for that elite security service to be disbanded.

In a sharply worded statement issued on Tuesday, MINUGUA pointed out that without consultation with the Guatemalan legislature, budgetary transfers continue to the Presidential Guard, which has disbursed almost all of the $17.2 million it has received.

"Given the accelerated rate of expenditure by the Presidential Guard, it is possible that additional resources may have to be transferred to its budget before the end of the current year," the mission observed.

MINUGUA also called into question the need to increase the security of the President amid the present climate of insecurity facing Guatemalan citizens. "These recurrent increases to the budget of the Presidential Guard cannot be justified when the National Civil Police, the courts, and prosecutors are not afforded the human and financial resources necessary to provide the Guatemalan citizens the services they require," the Mission said.

Demanding that the Government cease further budgetary transfers to the Presidential Guard, the statement urges the Congress "to move quickly to adopt the legal initiative dissolving the Presidential Guard in compliance with its commitment, outlined in the Peace Accords, to strengthen civilian institutions."

MINUGUA was created in 1994 and its mandate expanded in 1997 in order to continue to verify compliance with the peace agreements signed between the Government of Guatemala and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG).