Kaieteur News – Guyana on Tuesday urged the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to confirm its adherence to the judicial processes of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the border controversy between the two countries.
Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett in exercise of the right of reply to the statement by Venezuela’s Foreign Minister in the General Debate of the 78th United National General Assembly said that in his address in the General Debate of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, the Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela “allowed himself falsehoods that were excessive even by their accustomed standards of untruthfulness in relation to my country”.
“The intelligence of the international community should not be insulted by Venezuela’s allegations that Guyana is allowing its territory to be used as a platform for military aggression against any State including the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” Rodrigues said.
The UN Permanent Representative said that the falsehoods shared by the Venezuelan Minister are as a result of the Spanish-speaking country’s “grotesque claim to two thirds of Guyana.”
Rodrigues said, “Throughout, the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has acted, and continues to act in relation to neighbouring Venezuela, in full accordance with international law and has consistently invited the Government of Venezuela to do the same.”
She continued: “In particular, Guyana urges Venezuela to confirm its adherence to the judicial processes of the International Court of Justice in the matter of Venezuela’s basic contention regarding the border between our countries. Venezuela’s diatribes – not confined to Guyana alone – are refuted in full measure.”
Guyana reminded Venezuela that the 1966 Geneva Agreement is in fact the binding legal instrument that provides for the settlement of the controversy over the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award and the land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.
Further, the obligatory settlement procedure is set forth in Article IV of the 1966 Geneva Agreement. Under that Article, when bilateral negotiations failed to achieve a settlement, Guyana and Venezuela agreed to refer the controversy to the United Nations Secretary General to choose the means of final settlement.
The Secretary General chose, in the first instance, the use of his good offices to bring about a settlement satisfactory to both parties. The good offices process took place with the participation of Guyana and Venezuela over a period of more than 20 years, without success or any progress toward success.
In January 2018, acting in accordance with Article IV of the Geneva Agreement, the Secretary General determined that the good offices process had failed, and he chose a new means of dispute settlement: litigation before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
“Under Article IV, his decision was binding on Guyana and Venezuela. Guyana then filed an Application with the Court seeking its final and binding Judgment on the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award and the boundary between the two States, in accordance with Article IV of the 1966 Geneva Agreement and the Secretary General’s decision of January 2018. Venezuela twice appeared before the Court to object to its exercise of jurisdiction in the matter, and the Court rejected Venezuela’s objections both times. The Court ruled that the basis of its jurisdiction was precisely Article IV of the Geneva 3 Agreement and the Secretary General’s decision that the dispute should be resolved by the Court,” Rodrigues reminded.
As a result, she said if Venezuela truly believes that the best, or the only, way to resolve the controversy is by adherence to the 1966 Geneva Agreement, then it should adhere to that Agreement and plead its case to the ICJ, and accept the decision of the Court, when it is issued, as a final and binding settlement of the controversy.
“Guyana will not agree to any procedure that contradicts the express provisions of the Geneva Agreement and bypasses the Court, which is the only means of settlement that is now authorized by Article IV of that Agreement,” Rodrigues stated.
Last week, Venezuela’s National Assembly approved a Consultative Referendum for people to decide on the country’s spurious claims over Guyana’s Essequibo region.
According to BNN Newsroom, the decision to hold a referendum is a strategic one, aiming to bolster Venezuela’s position on the international stage. It also seeks to involve and enlighten its populace about the ongoing territorial controversy with Guyana.
It should be noted however that the result of such a referendum does not alter the status quo of ownership over the Essequibo territory which rightfully belongs to Guyana. Guyanese authorities have since called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to address Venezuela’s erroneous claims which have heightened in recent days.
Just recently, the Venezuelan government issued a statement saying that it strongly rejects Guyana’s ongoing bid round for 14 oil blocks, eight of which have attracted bids from six groups of oil companies. The Venezuelan administration said the move by Guyana is illegal.
The missive added, “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates that any illicit and arbitrary concession that Guyana grants, has granted or intends to grant in the areas in question is unacceptable and violates its sovereign rights, and warns that these actions do not generate any type of rights for third parties to participate in this process.”
However, Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali categorically stated that his administration is entitled to pursue economic development within the nation’s maritime borders.
The President said, “The Government of Guyana reserves the right to pursue economic development activities in any portion of its sovereign or any appurtenant maritime territories. Any unilateral attempt by Venezuela to restrict the exercise by Guyana of its sovereignty and sovereign rights will be wholly in consistent with the Geneva Agreement and the rule of international law.”
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