Ambassador Dag Nylander, the personal representative of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres will visit Guyana on Wednesday, April 12 to meet with President David Granger and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge.
Nylander was appointed by Guterres in the border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela as part of the ‘Good Officer’ process. At a press conference culminating the end of the Heads of Missions Conference on Friday, Greenidge said that Nylander will be in Guyana for two days.
He said that the visit will focus on choosing an option to the resolution of the contention by Venezuela to the effect that the Arbitral Award of 1899 is null and void. Greenidge said that the visit is part of the exercise in which Nylander is to have discussions with Venezuela and the Government of Guyana with a view to seeing how far both parties can move in relation to resolving the controversy.
According to Greenidge if such a move cannot be achieved, then the matter will be referred to the International Court of Justice. Based on a statement issued by the Ministry, it was stated that the UN Secretary General had outlined in his decision that if by the end of 2017, the Secretary General concludes that significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy, he will choose the ICJ as the next means of settlement, unless Guyana and Venezuela jointly request that he refrain from doing so.
The Guyana government has always maintained its commitment to friendly and neighbourly relations with the Government and people of Venezuela. On July 10, 2015, Venezuela had formally asked the UN to appoint a Good Officer to mediate in the dispute with Guyana and declare its sovereignty and rights over the county of Essequibo.
Meanwhile, Guyana has always maintained that the dispute, which is over 100 years old, should be settled in an international court. For the last 25 years, the two nations have been utilising the Good Officer process which is supervised by the UN Secretary General.
Last year, Guyana discovered oil in its offshore concessions with Venezuela immediately moving to restate its claim to Essequibo as well as the waters where the oil was discovered.
The claim was done on the same day that Guyana celebrated its independence. The matter ended up before the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, last year October, where both Guyana and Venezuela agreed to have the UN Chief decide the best way forward to decide once and for all on a solution.
Since then, UN officials have visited Guyana and Venezuela to gather information. Guyana has been using a number of international forums to complain about Venezuela’s aggression, including CARICOM.
Venezuela’s claim is almost for the entire Essequibo, the largest county in Guyana, a mineral rich area known more for its vast areas of untouched forests. It is home to thousands of Guyanese and several Amerindian villages.
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