Guyana confident international law will prevail in border controversy – Min. Todd

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Hugh Todd

The Government of Guyana remains confident that international law will prevail in the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and a peaceful settlement will ensue.

This was underscored by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd at the extraordinary Sitting of the National Assembly on Monday, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Liliendaal.

Minister Todd emphasised that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will end Venezuela’s tyranny and unlawful behaviour.

“We are sure of the fact that the International Court of Justice will prevail and the world will stand with Guyana and the people of Guyana…We live in a world where laws and rules must be respected by every nation. We will not be afraid. We stand on principle and on the right side of the law,” Minister Todd stressed.

The border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela hinged on Venezuela’s argument that the 1899 Arbitral Award that established the boundary line between the then British Guiana and Venezuela is null and void.

Minister Todd stressed that Guyana will continue to succeed, as the government believes in international law, peace, and stability, locally, regionally, and globally.

The foreign affairs minister pointed out that Venezuela’s preliminary objections are legally unsupportable and without basis.

“International Law deems that the agreed or established boundaries as sacrosanct and permanent. It is regrettable that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has continued for decades on a path that is in direct confrontation with this fundamental principle which has been steadfastly upheld by the International Court of Justice.

“I want the people of Guyana, the international community, and the world to see the developments post-1899 and how it is being chronicled and recorded in history…We are here as a united nation to show the world that we are on the right side of history and international law.”

He posited that the record and validities for the longstanding controversy are overwhelming, noting that for 63 years, Venezuela has accepted the Award of 1899 as a full, perfect, and final settlement.

“They got all that they had bargained for. It is unbelievable and inconceivable that Venezuela would want to try to fool the rest of the world that it has legitimate rights to Guyana’s territory,” Minister Todd stated.

The country continues to undermine the sanctity of longstanding voluntary execution of the arbitral award and boundary agreements, Minister Todd highlighted.

He noted that Venezuela has repeatedly and consistently breached the 1966 Geneva Agreement when it expanded its claim to the Essequibo River, as it threatens Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Instead of complying with international obligations, Venezuela has since embarked upon intensified campaigns of intimidation and threats to force Guyana to concede to its wishes.

On September 22, 2023, Venezuela’s National Assembly passed a resolution calling for a referendum regarding Venezuela’s unsubstantiated claim to Guyana’s Essequibo.

The Government of Guyana and the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) have condemned the passing of the referendum as illegal and improper, as it violates the 1966 Geneva Agreement, which was in response to Venezuela’s 1962 contention.

Further, the government and the parliamentary opposition have issued a joint statement, as a united front in pursuit of a legal conclusion of the unfounded claim that Venezuela has to Guyana’s territory. [DPI]