Venezuela border controversy: Venezuela’s ‘retrograde step’ should not advance further – UK
…as Bahamas demands Venezuela respect ICJ ruling
The United Kingdom has also stood firmly behind Guyana in light of heightened tension in the border controversy with Venezuela, and has positioned that the latter’s misguided actions should not advance further.
Foreign Secretary David Cameron on Friday made it clear that the border controversy with Venezuela was settled since 1899 and the country should cease its wrongful actions. The UK will be engaging President Irfaan Ali in the near future.
“I see absolutely no case for unilateral action by Venezuela. It should cease. It is wrong. I hope to be having some telephone calls later on with the President of Guyana and others in the Region to ensure that this very retrograde step taken does not lead any further,” Cameron stated.
Countries within the Caribbean are also maintaining that the Region should remain one of peace.
Bahamian Prime Minister, Philip Davis on Friday issued a statement, weighing support behind Guyana and its sovereignty and territorial integrity as was settled in accordance with the 1899 Arbitral Award.
“These borders have defined the territory of Guyana since its independence in 1966. I am disheartened that after all that Caricom has done to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela during a most trying economic and political period in its history, that Venezuela should now seek to annex territory in a Caricom state.
The Bahamas is demanding that Venezuela respect the settled borders and abide by the December 1, 2023 ruling of the International Court of Justice, and to refrain from any actions that would disturb these existing borders.
A similar sentiment also emanated from the Government of Belize, expressing deep concerns about recently announced decisions by Venezuela to exercise rights of administrative sovereignty over the Essequibo region.
The decisions announced by Venezuela challenge directly the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana and heighten tensions between the two countries, the Belizean Government outlined. Belize stressed that Latin America and the Caribbean must remain a zone of peace.
Furthermore, Venezuela’s actions and decisions violate well-recognised rules of international law, as well as the binding provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice on December 1, 2023 – in particular, the Court’s direction that Venezuela must not do anything that “might aggravate or extend” its territorial dispute with Guyana “or make it more difficult to resolve.
“All states must respect and adhere to norms and principles of international law, including respect for the sovereignty of other states, territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders, non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, and the prohibition of the threat or use of force and peaceful resolution of disputes. Belize reiterates its strong support for the ongoing judicial process at the International Court of Justice, which provides for the peaceful settlement of the territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela.”
On Sunday, the Nicolas Maduro Government held its controversial referendum seeking approval from its citizens to annex Guyana’s Essequibo territory. But despite decades of indoctrination and weeks of rhetoric from the Maduro regime, the actual vote saw a sparse turnout of voters.
Despite this, Maduro went ahead to announce measures which his Government intends to take in enforcing the outcome of the referendum.
By defying the World Court’s orders which bars them from acting on the referendum, President Ali said Venezuela has rejected international law, the rule of law generally, fundamental justice and morality, and the preservation of international peace and security.
Ali had stated, “Further, we have engaged Caricom, the OAS, the Commonwealth and many of our bilateral partners, including the United States of America, Brazil, the United Kingdom and France. The Guyana Defence Force is on full alert, and has engaged its military counterparts, including the US Southern Command.”
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met on Friday to consider Guyana’s request for intervention amid Venezuela’s blatant violation of the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court.
Caricom also held an emergency meeting on the matter.
On Thursday, the General Secretariat of the Organisation of American States (OAS) announced that an emergency meeting will be convened to discuss possible measures and explore solutions that respect international law and regional stability. (G12)