Venezuela can disagree but ICJ judgment already in motion – Greenidge

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Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Second Vice President, Carl Greenidge Tuesday said the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela can disagree with Guyana’s position on the validity of the 1899 Award but irrespective of that position, the move to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) remains in motion.

“Venezuela, of course, has the right to respond and disagree with Guyana’s position on the validity of the 1899 Award.  But either way, the process leading to a final judgment has now been set into motion,” Minister Greenidge said in a statement to the media today.

Greenidge, who is currently the acting Prime Minister, last week submitted on behalf of Guyana, an Application to the Court to initiate legal proceedings in regard to Venezuela’s claim that the 1899 Arbitral Award is invalid.

A few days ago, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry had rejected the move to the World Court, saying that “resorting to a judicial settlement to settle the dispute is unacceptable, sterile and inapplicable.”

But Greenidge reminded that the move to the ICJ follows a decision taken by the United Nations Secretary-General following a series of negotiations between the two South American countries.

“This course of action follows the decision of UN Secretary-General, His Excellency Antonio Guterres, to choose the Court as the means for resolving this controversy. On January 30th of this year, just two months ago, the new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, decided that the Good Offices Process has come to an end and that the Court should now settle the controversy by means of a final and binding decision,” Minister Greenidge explained.

He noted that the consequence of this assertion is to put into question Guyana’s sovereignty over two-thirds of its territory.

The Application before the ICJ asks the Court to confirm in a final and binding judgment the full legal validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award that delimited our land boundary with Venezuela.  Coming from the principal judicial organ of the UN, such a judgment will once and for all put to rest this baseless contention.

Guyana has suffered from Venezuela’s contention of nullity ever since the country’s independence in 1966.

This assertion has undermined our ability to develop our sovereign territory and resources, including our natural wealth in the sea, the Foreign Minister said as he noted that by means of a judgment of the Court, Guyana’s objective is to put this controversy to a definitive end “so Guyana and Venezuela can live together as neighbours without the shadow of this conflict.”

Now that the Application is before the Court, Minister Greenidge noted the process leading to this final judgment has commenced.

“This is a great moment for the rule of law worldwide and for the peaceful resolution of conflict in our Caribbean region.  Above all it is a great moment for the future prosperity and security of Guyana and for the betterment of our neighbourly relations with our Venezuelan brothers and sisters,” he expressed.

As it is, Guyana is awaiting the response from the ICJ to its Application.  Minister Greenidge noted that the judicial process will unfold in several stages and the Government of Guyana will periodically inform the public of its progress.

“This is likely to be a lengthy process, but having waited more than fifty years, we are fully committed to seeing it through until the very end,” he explained.

Minister Greenidge noted that the Government of Guyana looks forward to the continuing support of the Guyanese people as “we move forward with this historic process in pursuit of justice.”

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