Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ended a one-day visit to Guyana on Saturday in a move that strengthens the relationship between the two countries that have had a long standing border dispute. The two countries have agreed to ask the Jamaica-born academic, Professor Norman Girvan to continue as the United Nations (UN) Good Officer as they seek to settle their border dispute.
President Donald Ramotar told reporters that both countries have also agreed “to renew the Good Officer process of the United Nations. We think that Professor Girvan has been doing a good job and we agreed that we would make that request to the United Nations to have this process continued”.
The Good Officer will assist both countries in the search for a practical settlement of the controversy that emerged from the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899 is null and void, thus claiming a significant amount of Guyana’s territory. Venezuela is claiming 159.500 square kilometres in the Essequibo region, from Guyana’s total area of 214.000 square kilometres.
Girvan, an internationally renowned Caribbean economist, academic and international civil servant, who also served as Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), was appointed in 2010, three years after the death of the Oliver Jackman, who served as the Personal Representative of the Un Secretary General Ban Ki-moon from October 1999 to January 2007.
Maduro told reporters that the two countries were committed to the diplomatic and legal measures in settling the border controversy.
“We are ready to work through the United Nations as the sole process,” said Maduro, adding it was now up to the officials from both countries implement the decisions as quickly as possible.
The Joint Declaration issued at the end of the talks said the two leaders “acknowledged the potential cooperation under the PetroCaribe mechanism and the new cooperation initiatives proposed, which include the bilateral drugs agreement, furtherance of the proposals for cultural cooperation and capacity building in the area of Spanish language training for Guyanese and English language training for Venezuelans”
It said that the two leaders “reviewed the achievements of the PetroCaribe mechanism” with Ramotar congratuling his visiting colleague “on the initiative by Venezuelan to establish the Petrocaribe Economic Zone (PEZ), which has been created to safeguard and manage the resources in the region.