Guyana seeks UN help in border dispute

The government of Guyana plans to ask the United Nations to intervene and settle the border dispute with Venezuela.’

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, said the only alternative to settle the controversy with its Spanish-speaking neighbor is that of a judicial settlement that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award of the border with Venezuela is final.

“A judicial settlement in respect of Venezuela’s contention that this award is null and void appears to be the best, if not the only way, now open to us,” Greenidge said.

He said Guyana has stepped up its diplomatic offensive to the international community, including special approaches to the other Caribbean and Commonwealth member states, “from whom we have consistently received support in the past for our just course.”

“Other steps are being taken to ensure than Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are not compromised in any way and that our sovereignty right to develop this great country is free from threats and economic aggression remains untrammeled,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said.

Greenidge said the decree has served to widen even further the gap between the neighboring South American countries. The purported annexation of the waters off Essequibo now takes in the oil-rich Stabroek Block where American oil giant, Exxon Mobil, last month found a “significant” reserve of high quality crude oil.

He said the government would be directing its “full attention” to legal proceedings to settle the matter peacefully.

Greenidge stressed that the 1966 Geneva Agreement between Venezuela, Britain and Guyana provides for various mechanisms to resolve the controversy, but one of them — the United Nations Secretary General’s Good Officer Process — has not yielded any progress for the past 25 years.

He said Guyana would now have to seek relief through one of the options in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter. Those options include arbitration and judicial settlement.

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