Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, yesterday announced the appointment of
Dag Halvor Nylander of Norway as his Personal Representative on the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.
Nylander will have until the end of the year to find a resolution, failing which the matter heads to the International Court.
“By the Geneva Agreement of 17 February 1966, Guyana and Venezuela have referred to the Secretary-General the decision as a means of settlement of the controversy that has arisen as the result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between Venezuela and what is now Guyana is null and void,” a UN statement explained yesterday.
Gutteres, on December 16, had concluded that the present Good Offices Process — which has been conducted since 1990 — will continue until the end of 2017, with a strengthened mandate of mediation.
“Mr. Nylander will conduct the Good Offices Process on behalf of the Secretary-General and will actively engage with the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela with a view to exploring and proposing options for a solution to the border controversy between the two countries.”
If, by the end of 2017, the Secretary-General concludes that no significant progress has been made towards arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy, he will choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement, unless the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela jointly request that he refrain from doing so, the UN statement said.
Nylander was the Norwegian Special Envoy to the Colombia peace process (2012-2016) and served as Norway’s Head of Mission in Bogota, Colombia (2006-2008).
Nylander was a delegate of his country before the United Nations in New York (2001-2004), and at the Norwegian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina (1999-2001).
Born in 1969, Nylander is a lawyer from the University of Oslo and is fluent in English, Spanish and Norwegian.
Guyana is at major odds with neighbouring Venezuela after the latter aggressively stated that a large part of Essequibo, the biggest country in Guyana, belongs to them. The claim has been an old one that Guyana insisted was settled more than a century ago.
The Coalition Government, on entering office in May 2015, was immediately faced with a hostile Venezuela after it was announced that a significant deposit of oil was found in Guyana’s waters by US-owned ExxonMobil.
Venezuela immediately drew up maps including a large part of Essequibo as belonging to them.
Guyana has complained to a number of countries, to CARICOM and other organizations and eventually President David Granger raised the matter on the floors of the United Nations General Assembly in late 2015.
Guyana insisted that it no longer had interest in the Good Offices Process. Rather, it wants a juridical settlement in the International Courts.
However, the new UN chief has asked for one more shot at the Good Offices Process before the matter is taken to court.
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