Guyana moving full steam ahead in solidifying its case in border controversy

File: Registrar of the International Court of Justice, Mr. Philippe Couvreur (left) and Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge (right)

Based on Venezuela’s refusal to participate in the legal proceedings brought against it by Guyana in the border controversy matter and its claim that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) lacks jurisdiction, the Guyana Government today (Monday) filed its Memorial with the world court to determine the next step.

Guyana is moving full steam ahead in solidifying its case against the Spanish-speaking country’s claim to this country’s sovereign territory.

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge had said that the ICJ would decide on Jurisdiction after February 2019 and today (Monday), his ministry officially announced that Guyana submitted its Memorial on Jurisdiction to the world court which aims to have ICJ validate an arbitral award that settled the international boundaries in 1899.

This comes five months after Government filed the Memorial in June 2018 to resolve the border controversy after Venezuela refused to participate in proceedings.

Information disclosed from the Memorial says that Venezuela is not correct in arguing that the controversy must be resolved exclusively by friendly negotiations, a claim which Guyana says is not justified in the terms of the final 1966 Geneva Agreement to which both parties agreed. It adds that the boundaries were set out between Guyana and Venezuela in 1897 before October 1899 award.

It was in January 2018 that UN Secretary-General António Guterres chose adjudication by the Court as the means for finally resolving the controversy with Guyana filing its case in March of this year.

As the Foreign Affairs Minister continues to lead Guyana’s case, his ministry said that the State has no doubt that the ICJ has jurisdiction to resolve the controversy which has undermined Guyana’s ability to develop its natural resources.

It was after US oil giant ExxonMobil announced its first of many oil finds in 2015 that Venezuela renewed its claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. However, the United States has recently adopted an approach of supporting Guyana’s case.


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