Guyana to Embark on Nationwide Campaign on Border Dispute with Venezuela

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Moses Nagamootoo

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo says the Guyana
government will soon embark upon a nationwide civic education campaign aimed
at getting citizens to understand the border dispute with Venezuela that is now
likely to be a matter before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Writing in the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper on Sunday, Nagamootoo
welcomed the decision of the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres,
to refer the decades old border controversy to the ICJ.

“The decision by the UN Secretary-General has opened a fresh new window
through which we could re-assert Guyana’s sovereignty over our territory – all of it.
We should, as I have repeatedly urged, put “Country First” and let our collective,
patriotic heart beat and live for our beloved Guyana. We cannot be divided over
our common duty to our Motherland,” he wrote in his newspaper column, adding
“the road to a peaceful, lawful settlement leads to The Hague”.

Venezuela has already rejected the decision made by Guterres saying being
“faithful to its historical tradition and in accordance with the Bolivarian Diplomacy of
Peace, reiterates its firm disposition 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 favour of our Peoples”.

Caracas has said that it wants the UN Good Officers’ Process to have another go
at peacefully finding a solution to the dispute.

“It is worth asking the reasons that the International Court of Justice is
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.”.

President Nicolas Maduro said he is guaranteeing the Venezuelan people that he
will continue defending “the sovereign rights over Guayana Esequiba and calls for
national unity to protect the most sacred interests of the Homeland”.

But in his column, Nagamootoo noted that “enlightened and seasoned diplomats
have hailed the decision as the best forward move in what has been a stale and
stagnated row that has troubled relations between two peaceful peoples on the
shoulder of South America.

“But, the Venezuelan ruling clique, didn’t think so. It rejects the path to settlement
under international law, of its own legal fiction.

“The world is watching and it knows that in spite of the expected political bombast
and braggadocio, the present Venezuelan regime, or a future government, cannot
wish away the jurisdiction of the ICJ, nor can it trifle with its persuasive and
authoritative rulings — whether as opinions or advisories.”

Nagamootoo said that in the coming days and weeks, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs is expected to highlight the significance of the UN decision as part of
nationwide civic education.

“Every child needs to know that the only just and lasting settlement of the
controversy must flow from legal processes, and that the World Court is the
guarantor of these processes.

“Guyana has fought a long, hard and costly battle for a juridical resolution of the
controversy, and the UN decision came as a vindication of the consistent and
strenuous national efforts, particularly since the APNU+AFC Coalition came to
office.

“We stood within the law, even when we took blows from the bigger, more powerful
and aggressive neighbour. We suffered enormous damage to our economy and
loss of investment opportunities. But the law has been and remains Guyana’s
sword and shield,” Nagamootoo wrote. – CMC

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