Dec 11, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – As the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela over the Essequibo region rages on, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is set to visit Russia in December, a development that could have implications for the territorial quarrel. The exact dates of his visit will be confirmed soon, as stated by Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, according to Russian News Agency TASS.
This meeting comes at a time when the role of Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), is pivotal in relation to the Guyana-Venezuela controversy. The matter hinges on the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award, which granted the Essequibo region to then British Guiana. Guyana has sought the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) intervention to affirm the award’s validity, while Venezuela contends it as fraudulent and has challenged the ICJ’s jurisdiction.
The ICJ, having already issued provisional measures instructing Venezuela not to exacerbate the situation, including by seeking to modify Guyana’s control of the territory, has been met with plans by the Bolivarian Republic to incorporate the territory as a new Venezuelan province. This move could significantly aggravate the situation, and Guyana has sent the matter to the attention of the UNSC, whose decisions are binding for all UN members, including Venezuela.
Guyana’s forthcoming non-permanent membership in the UNSC, starting January 2024, places it in a strategic position. However, the key to a swift resolution at the UNSC may lie in the stance of Russia. As a permanent member with veto power, Russia’s position, historically non-interventionist in this matter, gains critical importance. In 2022, Russian officials assured protestors in Guyana that they would not support Venezuelan actions against Guyana. This assurance was given during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where the protestors explained their principled stance, drawing parallels between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Guyana-Venezuela situation. Guyana’s own government has spoken out against Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
A recent statement from Russia urged a peaceful resolution to the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, but spoke out against foreign interference in the matter, seemingly alluding to the involvement of the United States.
Other members with veto power on the UNSC include the United Kingdom, the United States, China and France. The UK and the US have expressed support for Guyana’s territorial integrity, firmly in support of the 1899 Arbitral Award. France has spoken in support of ICJ as the means to solve the controversy. China, like Russia, urged peace but did not take a side nor did it expressly state support for the ICJ as the solution.
While the agenda of Maduro’s impending visit to Russia, as announced by Ushakov, is not explicitly linked to the Guyana-Venezuela controversy, the timing is crucial. With Russia’s influence in the UNSC and its historical relaionship with Venezuela, any discussions or outcomes from this visit could significantly impact the course of the controversy, as the UNSC is now considering it. Moreover, the visit is notable as it occurs in a month packed with domestic and international engagements for Russian President, Vladimir Putin, indicating the importance of Maduro’s visit.
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