-insists on political negotiations
Neighbouring Venezuela has backpedaled on its recognition of the United Nations’ authority to determine the next step on territorial controversy with Guyana.
Yesterday, in a strong statement, Venezuela, which has been slapped with sanctions by a number of countries because of ongoing turmoil and human rights abuses, made it clear that it prefers political dialogue than going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the principal judicial organ of the UN.
A statement read by Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, disclosed that his Government has ratified the Geneva Agreement, signed in 1966, which “recognized” the sovereignty of Venezuela over the Essequibo and declared the Arbitral Award issued in 1899 in Paris as “null and void”.
“That is the treaty that governs the territorial controversy,” said the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, who demanded that sovereignty be respected, according to reports in the media from that country.
“The Government of Venezuela, faithful to its historical tradition and in accordance with the Bolivarian Diplomacy of Peace, reiterates its willingness to defend the territorial integrity of our homeland and maintain political negotiation based on the Geneva Agreement,” the foreign minister said.
Venezuela said that its statement was in response to correspondence it had received from the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, who has agreed for the matter to be settled once and for all at the ICJ.
In late 2015, the new Coalition Government, acting on a number of incidents which highlighted a seeming threatening posture of Venezuela, took the matter to the UN.
Outgoing Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, committed to have the matter looked at.
In February last year, new Secretary General Guterres appointed Norwegian ambassador, Dag Nylander, as his personal representative to mediate on the territorial controversy.
Both Guyana and Venezuela agreed that they would attempt, until the end of 2017, to reach a resolution, failure of which the matter would be sent to the ICJ.
It will be recalled that Venezuela’s aggressions took a more strident tone in 2015 when the new government under President David Granger took office, and when it was announced that Guyana has found oil offshore.
Venezuela immediately laid claim to the waters where the oil was found. The country also suspended an oil-for-rice deal with Guyana.
There are thousands of Guyanese living in Venezuela with daily protests and food shortages facing that country. However, there has been a growing cross-border trade in oil and food items.
Below is the full text of the translated statement by the Government of Venezuela on the issue:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rules on the territorial dispute with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela informs the international community and the Venezuelan people that on January 30, 2018, it received a communication from the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, about the negotiation process on the controversy with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
Through this communication, the Secretary General of the United Nations reports the following:
After a brief review of the negotiation process developed during 2017, he recommends the International Court of Justice as the next means to be used for the settlement of the Territorial Dispute between Venezuela and Guyana of the Essequibo territory. Additionally, he considered that the Government of Venezuela and Guyana could benefit from continuity in the Good Offices of the UN.
In this regard, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela informs the Venezuelan people and the world of the following:
Venezuela ratifies the full validity of the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966, signed and ratified between our country and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in consultation with the Government of British Guiana, an international treaty that governs as Law the Territorial Controversy between the parties, validly recognized and registered before the UN, as the only way to the definitive solution on this opprobrious heritage of the British colonialism.
Venezuela duly recorded its strong opposition to the letter of December 15, 2016, signed by the former Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, warning that the criteria contained in it exceeded the powers granted to its investiture, contravening the spirit, purpose and reason of the Geneva Agreement and the principle of equity concluded between the parties.
The Secretary General’s communication goes beyond the successive nature of the means of peaceful settlement established by the Geneva Agreement as the established methodology for reaching an acceptable, practical and satisfactory solution to the dispute.
During the year 2017, Venezuela maintained its historical position in the process of good offices of the UN Secretary General, promoting the high national interest and the permanent vindication of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Venezuelan people over the territory of Guyana Essequibo.
These negotiations were conducted with jealous confidentiality as an essential rule of the good offices process, by agreement between the parties and with the United Nations.
It is worth asking the reasons that the International Court of Justice recommended to two States that do not recognize their jurisdiction, since the Geneva Agreement itself provides for the political means for the settlement of the territorial dispute. In this sense, Venezuela ratifies in a decisive and unequivocal manner the negotiation process under these means.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, faithful to its historical tradition and in accordance with the Bolivarian Diplomacy of Peace, reiterates its firm willingness to defend the territorial integrity of our Homeland and maintain political negotiation based on the 1966 Geneva Accord, as the only way to reach a peaceful solution, practical and satisfactory for both parties and in favor of our Peoples.
The President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros, guarantees the Venezuelan people that they will continue defending the sovereign rights over the Guyana Essequibo and calls for national unity to protect the most sacred interests of the Nation.
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