…says nation abstained from UN’s vote on Crimea situation
One day after the local American, British and Canadian envoys called on the Guyana Government to stand in
solidarity with the international community against Russia regarding its invasion of Ukraine, the Guyana Government is miffed.
As a matter of fact, Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, is on record as saying that the line of action taken by the diplomats is unusual.
According to Rodrigues-Birkett, “it is somewhat unusual for Ambassadors and High Commissioners that are based in Guyana to make a demarche (line of action) on the host Government through a media conference, especially when there is easy access to the relevant authorities.”
The Ambassadors during the joint press engagement with media operatives on Thursday last, did point out that there were engagements with the Guyana Government but those talks were confidential.
Rodrigues-Birkett in responding to the western diplomats said “This approach is even more interesting since the countries concerned are already aware of the position of the Government of Guyana as adumbrated during several face to face interactions and also in a response carried by some sections of the media, following the vote on the United Nations Resolution concerning Crimea.”
According to the Foreign Affairs Minister, “It will be recalled that Guyana and seven other CARICOM countries abstained and six UNASUR countries including Guyana also abstained while two voted against the resolution.”
The Guyanese Foreign Affairs Minister said that “this speaks to the complexity of the matter which cannot be strictly compared and/or confused with the territorial situations of other countries, given the history and geopolitical tenets among other considerations.”
Rodrigues-Birkett in response to the western diplomats said, “Let me reiterate certain relevant sections of what was already communicated in the media on the Government’s position on this matter…As a small state, Guyana is obliged to insist on respect by all states for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law as a guarantor of international peace and security and as a bulwark against external threats. It is a matter of concern that the application of these principles by powerful actors in the international community is often marked by unevenness, inconsistency and double standards.”
She was adamant that Guyana has long upheld the principle of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and the prohibition against the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, and against intervention in the domestic affairs of states.
“We also respect the right of peoples to self-determination and stress the need for a consistent and principled approach to its application.”
According to the Foreign Affairs Minister, “Guyana calls on Russia and Ukraine to exercise restraint and responsibility, to desist from any act that can lead to a heightening of tensions, and to work to solve their differences through dialogue.”
According to Rodrigues-Birkett, “I have noted that this call on the Government of Guyana regarding Ukraine comes after the world witnessed the disproportionate bombings by Israel which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,700 Palestinians with more than 70 per cent being civilians and the displacement of thousands of others.”
She noted that some have described the situation as the greatest atrocity since World War II while others have opined that this could very well constitute a violation of the recently concluded Arms Trade Treaty which CARICOM spearheaded at the United Nations.
This past week Dr. Nicole Giles, the Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana as well as her British and American Counterparts, called on the Guyana government to issue a statement in solidarity with the international community against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
According to Dr. Giles, “it matters to both Canada and Guyana whether international laws are being broken.”
She said that for both countries, a cornerstone of international order is respect for principle of the viability of international orders as well as peaceful means to resolve disputes.
In relation to how Guyana can support its international partners in the struggle against Russia, Giles told media operatives that “every country in the international community has an ability to stand up and indicate their support for the international order, their support for international law, and we would be very pleased if Guyana were able to issue a statement that would indicate its support for these principles.”
Meanwhile her British counterpart, High Commissioner Andrew Ayers, in his pitch to the Guyana Government, reminded that the two World Wars started in Europe and the Ukraine/Russian spat is currently at the top of his administration’s agenda.
In seeking to draw a nexus as to why Guyana should be interested in the Crimea situation where Russian forces have invaded and are fighting against the Ukranian forces, Ayers drew reference to the fact that there are currently two countries claiming rights to sections of Guyana’s territory.
“Therefore there is a parallel here,” said High Commissioner Ayers.
Bryan Hunt, the US Charge d’ Affairs, also supported the calls of his Canadian and British counterparts.
“We believe every country has a stake in what is happening in Ukraine,” Hunt stressed, as he too pointed out that the exercise is not one that is isolated to Guyana, but is being undertaken on a global scale wherever American missions are located.
He said that all must be concerned with whether or not Russia abides with international law, and if it will cease and desist with its occupation of another sovereign country, and further, its attempt to annex a part of that country to Russia.
“All of us have a stake in this whether we are American, British, Canadian or Guyanese,” said Hunt.
According to the US Diplomat, for any country to occupy another sovereign nation would undermine hundreds of years of international law and precedent on which sovereign nations interact.
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