Ghana vows to back Guyana on border controversy

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–commits to championing its cause for an amicable resolution

PRESIDENT of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that his country stands firmly behind Guyana in the push to resolve the age-old border controversy with neighbouring Venezuela.

The Ghanaian President made this commitment while having bilateral talks with President David Granger at State House on Tuesday, according to Director-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon.

“The President came out very firmly in support of us on the Venezuela issue, and has committed in the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and in any other fora where Ghana is represented to push Guyana’s case for a resolution of this matter at the ICJ,” Harmon told reporters in an invited comment at State House.

In March 2018, Guyana filed an application with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), asking the Court to confirm the legal validity and binding effect of the 1899 Arbitral Award regarding the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.

Guyana is contending that the 1899 Award was “a full, perfect, and final settlement” of all questions relating to determining the boundary line between the colony of British Guiana and Venezuela. It is also Guyana’s position that between November 1900 and June 1904, a joint Anglo-Venezuelan Boundary Commission “identified, demarcated and permanently fixed the boundary established by the… Award” before the signing of a Joint Declaration by the Commissioners on January 10, 1905 (referred to by Guyana as the “1905 Agreement”). Guyana is further contending that in 1962, for the first time, Venezuela contested the Award as “arbitrary” and “null and void”.

Since the filing of the application, Guyana has submitted a Memorial justifying the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case, but although the ICJ fixed April 18, 2019 as the date for Venezuela to submit a Counter-Memorial on jurisdiction, the Spanish-speaking country has failed to do so.

In light of Venezuela’s reluctance to move on the matter, Guyana has asked the ICJ to proceed with the holding of oral hearings, at the earliest possible date, to determine its jurisdiction over the case brought against Venezuela.