Guyana is turning to the United Nations to reach a legal settlement in its border dispute with Venezuela, describing Caracas’ claim of a portion of maritime space where oil was recently discovered as “a baseless and shameless attempt” at usurping Guyana’s territory.
In the latest salvo in the war of words between the two countries, Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge said his nation had lived in the shadow of Venezuela’s illegal claim and attempts to “despoil” the country for 49 years.
“The sword of Damocles, for the most part unseen, nevertheless hangs over our heads. Unless removed, it will be the legacy that will be inherited by our children. It is time to end this cycle. A definitive solution has to be found that will put to rest Venezuela’s contention of nullity,” he said at the first sitting of Guyana's Parliament since the May general elections.
In addition to approaching the UN, Greenidge said Guyana has been in contact with several members of the international community, as well as Caribbean and Commonwealth states that have supported Guyana in its position. He said other steps are being taken to ensure that Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are not compromised in any way.
“Apart from the diplomatic and related measures of resistance to which I have just alluded, there is also a legal instrument assented to by Guyana, the United Kingdom and Venezuela, which provides for the examination of Venezuela’s contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 [which established the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela] is null and void,” he further explained.
“It also provides mechanisms for the eventual settlement of that baseless contention. The Geneva Agreement of 1966 remains the best hope for keeping the issue between Guyana and Venezuela from going totally out of control.”
According to Article IV (2) of the Agreement, “the Secretary General of the United Nations shall choose another of the means stipulated in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, and so on until the controversy has been resolved or until all the means of peaceful settlement there contemplated have been exhausted”.
“Notwithstanding the fact that an International Boundary Settlement already exists in the form of the Arbitral Award of 1899, a juridical settlement in respect of Venezuela’s contention that this Award is null and void appears to be the best, if not the only way now open to us,” Greenidge said.
“To that eventuality we must now direct our full attention. Guyana of course stands ready to continue discussions with Venezuela with respect to our bilateral relations while we pursue a peaceful settlement within the framework of the Geneva Agreement where the UN Secretary General has a defined role.”
The area under dispute includes the maritime space where American oil giant ExxonMobil’s Deep Water Champion recently encountered significant oil deposits.
Greenidge contended that “no reasonable observer could have possibly anticipated that Venezuela could ever regard the position where the Deep Water Champion is located as even remotely falling within the areas claimed by Venezuela”.
His comments follow a statement issued by his Venezuelan counterpart Delcy Rodriguez. Her statement was issued after Guyana responded to president Nicolás Maduro’s decree, declaring that the country would fight Venezuela in its attempt to claim the maritime territory.
Rodriguez said it was unacceptable that ”the new government of Guyana take this position with a territory that is under dispute”, adding that the government showed “a dangerous provocative policy against a peaceful Venezuela, backed by the imperial power of a US transnational, ExxonMobil, which should be rectified immediately.
Greenidge said that Maduro had overstepped in issuing the decree to try to utilize Guyana’s territory “to generate maritime territory to meet Venezuela’s illegal ambitions”.
He said efforts had been made on Guyana’s end to resolve the border issue, including attempts to convene a meeting after both countries agreed in September 2011 that the delimitation of the maritime boundaries remained an outstanding issue and required negotiations.
Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!
It must be quite handy, when you're a collapsing demagoguery, that your designated external enemy is of a different ethnic and cultural background to you. That should help get the rest of the PIMPLE (*) bloc on board, as in the case of theJun 12th, 2015 - 09:35 am 0
* Predominantly Implanted Populations of Latino Extraction
HansJun 12th, 2015 - 11:27 am 0
Madero needs a war to take away attention of domestic their economic crisis. Argentina in 1982 was the same....
The Minister's language is a lot more diplomatic than mine would've been were I he, replete, as it would be, with many colourful anglo-saxonisms, the last two words of which would be ____you!Jun 12th, 2015 - 11:35 am 0