Venezuela on Friday reiterated a call for direct discussions with Guyana on the border dispute between the two countries, even as it described as “misrepresentations” Georgetown’s account of the row dating back to several decades.
“Let us not forget that this dispute represents the sad colonial heritage of the United Kingdom to this young nation from the process of decolonization of the sixties and, like it or not, it must be resolved in a peaceful, friendly and mutually acceptable way for both parties, as establishes the Geneva Agreement in its Preamble, the purpose of which is to achieve a practical and satisfactory settlement of the territorial dispute,” The Venezuelan government said in a statement.
The statement came less than 24 hours after President Dr Irfaan Ali told the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that the dispute remains a threat to Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
He told the international community that while his government welcomes efforts to bring about domestic harmony within Venezuela, agreements that defy international law and processes must not be the basis for mediating such harmony.
“Guyana cannot be used as an altar of sacrifice for the settlement of Venezuela’s internal political differences,” Ali said.
Just recently, an agreement was issued in Mexico City by which the contending internal factions in Venezuela renewed a baseless claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. We have responded in clear terms. And I repeat, our response now in these hallowed halls in which nations of the world meet in peace and cooperation.”
Venezuela is claiming 70 per cent of Guyana’s lands in the Essequibo. The land being claimed by the Bolivarian state also covers Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into the lucrative Stabroek Block.
Ali said Guyana does not promote the use of violence or threats to settle disputes, reminding the UNGA of the 1966 Agreement signed in Geneva, where Venezuela consented to allow the UN Secretary-General to decide on the means of settlement of this controversy.
The Secretary-General decided on the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Both parties are, therefore, bound by the Court’s jurisdiction and ultimate decision,” he said.
The ICJ on December 18, 2020 ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the case brought by Guyana concerning the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award against Venezuela’s claims that the award was null and void.
Caracas has been calling on Georgetown to abandon the move towards the ICJ and the Nicholas Maduro government has accused the oil companies exploring offshore Guyana of derailing the ties between Guyana and Venezuela.
Venezuela warned that the will of the Venezuelan people is firm and it will not abdicate its territorial claim.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will always assert its legitimate rights over the territory of Guayana Esequiba, through direct negotiations as established in the Geneva Agreement and in the spirit of peace that guides our diplomacy,” Caracas said.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela must emphasize that in various communiqués, notes and communications delivered to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and to the UN Secretary General, it has insisted on continuing the negotiations as broadly as possible.
“Venezuela urges Guyana to abandon the unilateral path of the International Court of Justice, which is contrary to the spirit and nature of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, the only valid legal instrument to settle this controversy.”