The United States (US) has reiterated its support for Guyana in light of the latest decree issued by Venezuela’s Nicholas Maduro in which he lays fresh claims to the water and seabed adjacent to Guyana’s coast, west of the Essequibo River.
Assistant Secretary (ag) for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak, on Sunday said that the U.S. supports the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it has jurisdiction in the Guyana/Venezuela territorial border issue, which is the legal and peaceful way forward.
“Maduro’s aggressive claims don’t change this, they only show the world his disregard for his neighbors and intl. law,” Kozak asserted in a post on his official Twitter page.
Additionally, Ambassador of the U.S. to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, also reiterated the country’s call for a legal, peaceful resolution to the border controversy.
Guyana’s Head of State, President Irfaan Ali in an address to the nation on Saturday rejected in its entirety the latest decree issued by Maduro.
Dr Ali said the Officer-in-charge of the Venezuelan Embassy in Georgetown was summoned to Takuba Lodge earlier on Saturday by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd where Guyana’s “deep concern” was expressed.
“The Officer-in-Charge has been told to convey to the Venezuelan authorities in Caracas, that, in accordance with international law, and is assertion of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Guyana rejects entirely the decree issued by President Maduro. Guyana will continue on the path of peaceful resolution of this matter in keeping with international law and the jurisdiction of the ICJ. We urge our neighbour Venezuela to do the same,” Dr. Ali said.
The President told his fellow countrymen and women in a televised address from State House that Guyana continues to look forward to a peaceful resolution to the decades-old border controversy between the neighboring states, in keeping with international law.
The President said Maduro has clearly violated the principles of international law by unilaterally declaring the sea adjacent to Guyana’s Essequibo to belong to Venezuela.
He believes that both the land and maritime claims by Venezuela will be resolved when the ICJ hears and rules in the matter. But Venezuela had rejected the recent judgment handed down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in which it ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the Guyana/Venezuela controversy case.
In the judgment, President of the ICJ, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said the court concluded that it has jurisdiction to hear Guyana’s claims concerning the validity of the 1899 Award and related questions of the definitive settlement of the land boundary dispute.
The court decided that the referral of the matter to the ICJ by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on January 30, 2018, was legal as is contemplated in the agreement.
Judge Yusuf expressed regret at the decision taken by Venezuela not to participate in the hearings so far. He said the non-appearance of any party has a negative impact on the administration of justice, but noted that even in Venezuela’s absence, the judgment is final and binding on both parties.
The Court’s President said now that the ICJ has claimed jurisdiction, Venezuela will be able, if it so wishes, to appear before the court to present its arguments.