GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana government will later this week discuss the decision of the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, to refer the Guyana/Venezuela territorial controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
“The immediate work has already begun. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its advisory team and its lawyers met all day yesterday into the evening and they mapped out the broad options, the issues that needed immediate attention and those for which the cabinet has to give policy guidance,” Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge, told reporters.
Greenidge reiterated that the ICJ has to pronounce on what is essentially a legal contention raised by Venezuela.
“We are not setting out in the court to get the court to go now and mark boundaries that is not the issue. The issue is simply an allegation made by Venezuela in 1962 that a treaty that they’d honoured for 61 years is null and void.”
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.
In 1962, Venezuela claimed that the Arbitral Award of 1899, which established the border it shares with Guyana, is null and void.
Guyana maintains that it has exhausted the means of settlement provided in the Geneva Agreement and Greenidge said that no country can unilaterally decide “what are its obligations and the world’s obligations.
“You are in a community you are not an island as a country. You can say whatever you like but you cannot pronounce on the law which is an international one. The law that we are making reference too is internationally fashioned it’s not a Venezuelan one,” Greenidge said.
He said a pronouncement from the ICJ would be “very comforting” to investors and others interested in Guyana.
“It solves our problem as regards perception and other peoples understanding of our rights and our borders and our sovereignty and so forth,” Greenidge said.
Over the last weekend, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo said the David Granger government would soon embark upon a nationwide civic education campaign aimed at getting citizens to understand the border dispute between the two countries.
“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”. – CMC