–President Ali tells OAS Secretary-General
GUYANA remains committed to a peaceful conclusion to the ongoing border controversy with Venezuela, as the country will be guided only by the court, and the Rule of Law in this matter, President Dr. Irfaan Ali said during a meeting with Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro.
During the meeting, held at the Office of the Permanent Mission to Guyana in New York, on Tuesday, the President said that Guyana does not promote the use of violence or threats to settle disputes, but will look towards the court and the Rule of Law.
On the settlement of Venezuela’s internal political differences, President Ali reaffirmed that while his government welcomes efforts to bring about domestic harmony within Venezuela, agreements that defy international law and processes can form no basis for mediating such harmony.
At a meeting in Mexico City on September 6, 2021, the Heads of Delegation of the Venezuelan Government and the opposition Unity Platform of Venezuela agreed to ratify Venezuela’s purported rights over Essequibo, Guyana’s territory, and signed an agreement to that effect.
This agreement was, however, rejected by the Government of Guyana, which, through the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ministry, stated: “That agreement is an overt threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana; Guyana cannot be used as an altar of sacrifice for settlement of Venezuela’s internal political differences.
“While the Government of Guyana welcomes domestic accord within Venezuela, an agreement defying international law and process is not a basis for mediating harmony.”
Guyana’s position, as stated before, is that the controversy with Venezuela is properly before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and will remain there for peaceful resolution.
In a 1966 Agreement signed in Geneva, both countries consented to the UN Secretary-General deciding on a means of settlement of the controversy if the countries could not settle the matter on their own.
In January 2018, UN Secretary-General António Guterres decided that the ICJ would settle the matter. Since that decision could have only been overturned by a joint agreement by both countries, the ICJ was established as the governing body for the matter, and both parties were bound by the Court’s jurisdiction and ultimate decision.
Guyana is seeking to obtain a final and binding judgement that the 1899 Arbitral Award, which established the location of the land boundary between the then British Guiana and Venezuela, remains valid, and that the Essequibo region belongs to Guyana and not Venezuela.
A report from energy company, S&P Global Platts, however, related that Venezuela, in its agreement, rejects the ICJ’s declaration of jurisdiction over the issue, and urged Guyana to engage in direct negotiations.
“We will call on Guyana to resume the path of negotiations, in order to reach an agreement on the territory,” representative of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Jorge Rodríguez, was reported as saying.
Venezuela has said, for the longest while, that it is not interested in having this matter resolved by the court.
At a recent outreach in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), President Dr. Irfaan Ali said: “The international community is clear; CARICOM is clear that the International Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter. So, the propaganda that the court does not have the jurisdiction, we’ve gone past that.”
The President said that the government will focus on the Rule of Law, and continue to respect it.
“The Court has already ruled that they have jurisdiction, and that is where all of our efforts are concentrated. There is no sideshow; there is no propaganda. None of that matters. What matters is the Court, and that is where Guyana is,” the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces said.
At the meeting on Tuesday with the OAS Secretary-General, President Ali reaffirmed his position on this matter.
He was joined by Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo; Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett; and Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud.
In addition to the border issue, the Head of State and the Secretary-General also discussed the strengthening of democracy in Guyana through electoral reform and technical support to advance the country’s development agenda.