As it Seeks Settlement of Border Dispute with Venezuela
GEORGETOWN, Guyana – President David Granger says Guyana is vigorously pursuing diplomatic initiatives towards the Good Offices Process as it seeks a settlement of the border dispute with Venezuela.
Addressing the 71st sitting of the National Assembly last week, Granger said the government is currently engaged in a renewed Good Offices process and is confident that the common commitment of both the administration and the Opposition will see a strong national support for a juridical settlement of the controversy which he said “has impaired the development of our nation”.
President Granger said over the past 30 months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the strong support of the Opposition, has been seeking to reach a peaceful resolution to the territorial controversy which arose out of the contention by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that the arbitral award of October 1899 was null.
“The controversy was placed before the Secretary General of the United Nations, (UN) in accordance with the Geneva Agreement of 1966. Mr. Ban Ki Moon demitted the UN secretary-generalship since my address to the National Assembly last year. He delegated responsibility for continuing the process to his successor, Mr. Antonio Guterres,” Granger said, reminding legislators that he also met the incumbent UN Secretary General late last month on the side-lines of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly and his Personal Representative on April 11 in Georgetown.
Recently, Guyana and Venezuelan officials met in the United States on the border dispute between them at a meeting organised by the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Border Controversy between Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Dag Halvor Nylander.
A government statement said the meeting was as part of the fulfillment of his mandate under the Good Offices Process, with the strengthened aspect of mediation, to “actively engage with the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela with a view to exploring and proposing options for a solution to the border controversy between the two countries”.
Venezuela contends that the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 demarcating the border between Guyana (British Guiana at the time) and Venezuela is null and void. Consequently, it continues to lay claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.
In 2015, the Guyana government requested the United Nations Secretary-General to take steps toward a resolution of the controversy using an option from the menu as stated in the Geneva Agreement of 17 February 1966.
Meanwhile, in his address to legislators, Granger said that Guyana’s natural resources are also part of the nation’s patrimony.
“We must protect and sustainably manage these resources. The institutional capacity and the adoption of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework for the sustainable management of the Nation’s natural resource sector, including the emergent petroleum sector, are being strengthened through the efforts of the Ministry of Natural Resources,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Natural Resources will deploy a Corps of Wardens to enforce laws, regulations and codes of practice in the mining and forestry sectors. However, the capacity of the Petroleum Department, which was established this year, is to be strengthened. – CMC