After more than five hours of conversations, diplomatic delegations from Venezuela and Guyana agreed on Thursday in Brasilia to discuss the dispute over the oil-rich Essequibo territory peacefully. The gathering at the Itamaraty Palace resulted from talks between Presidents Nicolás Maduro and Irfaan Ali on December 14 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Foreign Ministers Yván Gil and Hugh Todd sat with their Brazilian colleague Mauro Vieira in front of representatives of the United Nations (UN), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), and the Caribbean Community (Caricom). The parties were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, it was explained. Gil and Toss also agreed to continue the dialogue and to meet again shortly. However, no significant progress was achieved on Thursday, although none was expected.
Guyana has always been inflexible in the face of Caracas' demands and trusts in the resolution of the dispute through the International Court of Justice (ICJ), a position that Todd defended again on Thursday.
According to Gil, both countries agreed to deal with everything related to international law, including the 1966 Agreement, signed in Geneva between Venezuela and the United Kingdom which provided for the creation of a commission to solve the historical controversy, something that never happened. At the time of this deal, Guyana was still a British colony.
Gil also insisted on the importance of a road map within the framework of international law to delimit maritime waters in dispute between both countries. We agree on the need to continue talking through diplomatic channels and reaffirming that none of the parties will resort neither to threats, nor invoke the use of force, including third parties, he stressed.
We are fully committed to seeking alternatives that will allow us to reach a mutually acceptable solution in the discussion of Essequiba Guiana and to promote relations of cooperation and integration, he added.
Venezuela also asked for everything that has to do with the mobility of indigenous communities living in both countries to be taken into account.
Todd also pointed out that his country would abide by last month's so-called Argyle Declaration, a joint statement signed by Ali and Maduro last month providing for peace in the region.
Guyana also expressed its willingness to partner with Bolivarian Republic in key areas of development but insisted Guyana’s position regarding the land boundary had not changed. Guyana maintained that the settlement of this controversy was properly before the International Court of Justice in accordance with the Geneva Agreement.
Todd also thanked Vieira for Brazil's assistance as well as the representatives of CELAC and the United Nations for attending as observers.
The Brazilian diplomat ratified South America's political will to advance in the social and fair development of its peoples in a peaceful environment and free of geopolitical tensions.