US reaffirms support for ‘peaceful resolution’ to Guyana/Venezuela border controversy
Ambassador Brian Nichols
Ambassador Brian Nichols

ASSISTANT Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. State Department, Ambassador Brian A. Nichols, on Tuesday, reaffirmed the United States’ support for a peaceful resolution to the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy.

Guyana’s Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Ministry in a recent statement in observance of the October 3, 1899 Arbitral Award said: “On October 3, 1899, the Arbitral Tribunal comprising some of the most eminent judges of their time, presided over by the venerable Russian jurist Frédéric Frommhold de Martens, and appointed by Britain, Venezuela and the United States -Venezuela’s patron, delivered an Award which defined the land boundary between Venezuela and the then British Guiana.

“The Tribunal was created by the Treaty of Washington of 1897 under which the parties, both Britain and Venezuela, agreed to accept the Tribunal’s Award as ‘a full, perfect and final settlement’ of the boundary issue.

“123 years later, Guyana still accepts and celebrates the Award as such. Venezuela had applauded the Award.

“In the words of the law firm handling Venezuela’s case, written in the American Journal of International Law as late as 1949: “The Award secured to Venezuela the mouth of the Orinoco and control of the Orinoco basin, these being the most important questions at issue.”

“On 7th May, 1905, an official boundary map was drawn up by Commissioners of Britain and Venezuela delineating the boundary as awarded by the Tribunal.
“For almost sixty years, Venezuela recognised, respected and even protected that boundary.

“In 1962, however, as Guyana’s independence drew closer and the neighbour would no longer be Britain but a fledgling State, Venezuela abandoned the path of propriety and with it the rule of law and cast eyes on Guiana’s Essequibo territory.

“As Guyana celebrates this anniversary date of the Arbitral Award of Paris of 3rd October 1899, we celebrate the rule of international law and the sanctity of treaties. We celebrate that our quest for justice has led us to the hallowed halls of the International Court of Justice.

“Guyana brought the matter to the Court in an application submitted on March 29, 2018. The Court confirmed its jurisdiction over Guyana’s claims, rejecting Venezuela’s objections, in a judgment issued on December 18, 2020.

“This assures that it will be the Court which decides, with final and binding effect on the parties – Guyana and Venezuela – whether the 1899 Arbitral Award establishing the international boundary between the two States was lawfully issued and remains legally valid and permanently binding as a matter of international law.

“Guyana is optimistic that the Court will decide the case in its favour, and that the validity of the Arbitral Award and the boundary will be upheld. In the meantime, it is dedicating all of its efforts to the achievement of this outcome.”


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