Guyana-Venezuela border controversy: Venezuela will eventually have to give up its spurious claims – Greenidge
…says Guyana must continue engaging int’l community
As Guyana continues to remain vigilant and engage the international community on the ongoing border controversy with Venezuela, the Spanish-speaking nation will eventually have to give up its spurious claims to the Essequibo region and a portion of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
This was the view expressed by Carl Greenidge, the country’s advisor on borders and a key agent in the border controversy case currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
During a recent appearance on a social media programme hosted by Globespan, Greenidge spoke of the likely outcomes as regards the border case before the World Court.
He noted that with the international community watching, Venezuela will have to toe the line.
For its part, Greenidge noted that Guyana has to remember where its interests lie and remain vigilant in safeguarding its sovereignty.
“What we are asking is for the international community to make it very clear to Venezuela, that Venezuela’s fabrications as regards the 1899 agreement and its validity and the consequential actions they are taking,” Greenidge expressed.
“Such as in relation to our land territory and maritime space and the purely fortuitous claims on maritime space, where you happen to have petro-carbons discovered, that the world sees through this and the world is not prepared to sit and allow them to do this. They [Venezuela] eventually will have to give up,” he added.
According to the advisor on borders, Guyana will have to continue its advocacy at an international level to retain support for its cause. This entails the country paying serious attention to strengthening its diplomatic service, with the requisite people.
“Find people who have linguistic skills, who understand the economies and politics of our neighbours. Who find out what are the problems of some of those countries, whose support we want. So that when you call on them to render that assistance, they can remember and say well you stood up in the UN or the ACP group of states, for a principle in which we have an interest,” Greenidge said.
He noted too that from a foreign policy perspective, it is important that Guyana make no enemies and also embrace principles that are consistent with the plight of countries whose support the country’s desires.
It was recently announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Guyana that Venezuela has filed an objection in a bid to delay the substantial hearing of the 1899 Arbitral award case before the ICJ, after refusing to join the proceedings since 2018.
Guyana approached the World Court in 2018 seeking a final and binding judgement to reinforce that the 1899 Arbitral Award remains valid and binding on all parties as well as legal affirmation that Guyana’s Essequibo region, which contains much of the country’s natural resources, belongs to Guyana and not Venezuela.
The Spanish-speaking nation had initially refused to participate in the proceedings and had even challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter. But in December 2020, the ICJ established that it has jurisdiction to hear the substantive case – something which Venezuela did not accept.
Back in March of this year, Guyana had submitted its written arguments for its memorial to the ICJ, which was a requirement by the court following its December 18, 2020, decision that it had the jurisdiction to hear the case against Venezuela.
Guyana moved to the World Court after exhausting all means of negotiation with Venezuela and the failed good offices process between the two South American neighbours.
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, in January 2018, decided that the case should be settled by the ICJ after exercising the powers vested in him to decide how the controversy should be settled by the 1966 Geneva Agreement between Guyana, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom.
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It was established by the United Nations Charter in June 1945, and began its activities in April 1946. The Court is composed of 15 Judges elected for a nine-year term by the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
The Spanish-speaking nation is laying claims to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass in Essequibo and a portion of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in which almost 11 billion barrels of oil have been discovered over the past seven years.
Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali has been using his platform at international forums to inform the world about Venezuela’s continued disregard for international norm in pushing its illegal claim to Guyana’s territory.
Simultaneously, Guyana had recommitted to maintaining bilateral relations with Venezuela. In fact, over the past week, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Guyana Carlos Amador Perez Silva met with various Cabinet Ministers including Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips.
On Tuesday, PM Phillips and the Venezuelan diplomat discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations between the neighbouring countries. The Prime Minister indicated that Guyana is ready to improve relations, within the construct of respect for Guyana’s sovereignty.