United Nations General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon is set to make an assessment on the Guyana/Venezuela controversy by November, ahead of his demitting office on December 31.
The UN Secretary General made this declaration yesterday (Saturday) during a meeting with the Guyanese Head of State David Granger at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of the Presidency, President Granger welcomed the schedule and pledged his commitment to provide any additional information, which will be required for the UN Secretary General to complete his assessment.
The President also expressed utmost gratitude to the world leader for his devoted interest in ensuring that the ongoing controversy is peacefully resolved.
“We have been very impressed with the seriousness with which you have approached the problem and your own sincerity…We have been personally convinced that you want to bring closure to this matter,” he said during the meeting with the UN Head.
In a brief invited comment, following the meeting, President Granger said he supports the process and is confident that it will lead to a conclusion that is satisfactory.
Also attending the meeting on behalf of Guyana were Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, Sir Shridath Ramphal, who was present at the signing of the Geneva Agreement in 1966 between the United Kingdom, on behalf of then British Guiana and Venezuela and Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Audrey Waddell.
For decades, Venezuela has laid claims to nearly two/thirds of Guyana’s landmass – the Essequibo. In fact, the border controversy, which was not on Venezuela’s front burner for several years after being first mooted in 1962, was recently reignited by the latter country when US oil giant ExxonMobil began exploratory works earlier this year in the Stabroek Block offshore the Essequibo Coast.
With Guyana on the verge of becoming a lucrative oil producing nation, President Maduro issued a decree claiming that the majority of Guyana waters now belongs to Venezuela.
The decree was seen as a “flagrant violation of international law and is inconsistent with the principle that all states should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states”.
Consequently, in an effort to defend its sovereignty, Guyana made it clear to the Venezuelan Government that the Essequibo and its offshore waters belong to Guyana, and strengthened its push for judicial settlement of the issue, as the Good Officer process had yielded little result.
The border between the countries was set by an international tribunal in 1899, in an award the parties, including Venezuela, had agreed would be the final settlement.
Since the recent belligerence from Venezuela, moves have been made by the international community, including the United Nations Secretary General, to push for a peaceful resolution of the issue.