Dec 04, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – Ahead of Venezuela’s referendum on Sunday, President Irfaan Ali issued an open appeal to Venezuelans asking them not to be part of a plan to seize Guyana’s Essequibo county in clear violation of international law.
In an address to the nation which was broadcast live on his Facebook page from the Essequibo Coast just after 02:00hrs on Sunday, the President called on Venezuela to uphold the rule of law and the country’s leaders against taking any action that runs “afoul” of international law.
“I want to speak directly to the Venezuelan people. We are your neighbours and we are taught to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Long after this controversy, we will live together as neighbours. You have to determine within yourselves whether you want to be part of a system that runs afoul of international law,” he said.
Ali also urged the Venezuelan government to demonstrate maturity and responsibility instead of forging ahead with actions that could make it an international outcast.
“I am not going to get into the internal politics of Venezuela and their policy-making but I want to advise Venezuela that this is an opportunity for them to show maturity and an opportunity to show responsibility.
“We call upon them once more to join us, to join us in demonstrating maturity and responsibility and to allow the rule of law to determine the outcome of this controversy,” Ali said.
The President took the opportunity during the broadcast to reassure Guyanese that all efforts are being pursued to guarantee that the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty remain intact.
“…We are working around the clock to ensure our borders remain intact and the people and our countries remain safe,” he said.
The President added, “Challenges bring out the best in people and I am very proud in how we, as Guyanese, handled this challenge.”
On Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Venezuela not to take any action to challenge, disrupt or interfere with Guyana’s longstanding control and administration of the Essequibo Region, which constitutes more than two-thirds of Guyana’s land territory, until the Court has issued its final Judgment on which State enjoys sovereignty over that territory.
In response to the ruling President Ali said that the court has made clear, that Venezuela is prohibited from annexing or trespassing upon Guyanese territory or taking any other actions – regardless of the outcome of its referendum on December 3 – that would alter the status quo in which Guyana administers and controls the Essequibo region, as an integral part of its sovereign territory, under the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899.
“Today’s ruling is legally binding on Venezuela. Both the UN Charter and the Statute of the Court, to which Venezuela is a Party, require its strict compliance.”
He added that “This is an opportunity for Venezuela to join Guyana in demonstrating respect for international law and the principles that govern peaceful coexistence.”
According to the President, “Guyana remains steadfast in its commitment to the international judicial process and the rule of law. It is fully confident that, when the ICJ issues its final Judgment on the merits of the case, it will conclude that the Essequibo is legally and rightfully Guyanese territory.”
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