The bi-partisan Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Relations met on Monday to discuss President Nicholas Maduro’s latest decree in which he lays fresh claims to the water and seabed adjacent to Guyana’s coast, west of the Essequibo River.
The meeting was held at the Parliament Building in Georgetown.
During the meeting, Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd was tasked with briefing the members of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee under the Chairmanship of Raphael Trotman.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry said Todd provided an update on recent developments concerning the relations between Guyana and Venezuela and entertained several questions from the Parliamentary Committee.
The Committee demonstrated unanimity in the strong condemnation of the implementation of any law by Venezuela with extraterritorial application in contravention of international law and the rights of Guyana.
The Committee further reiterated national sentiments for continued vigilance in safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana.
The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Mark Phillips and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira.
Also, Todd met with the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy in Georgetown Moses Chavez to register the strong objection of the Government of Guyana over events that are developing in Caracas related to the attempts by Venezuela to assume jurisdiction over marine and submarine areas.
The government said these claims are solely based on unilateral action without due regard for international law and the rights of Guyana.
In wake of Maduro’s decree, the United States (US) has reiterated its support for Guyana.
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.
He said Maduro’s aggressive claims doesn’t change this but rather shows the world his disregard for his neighbors and international law.
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.
Both Guyana’s government and the opposition party have rejected the decree as being illegal even as it reposes full confidence in the finalization of the controversy by a judicial settlement.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) recently ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear and determine the case surrounding the 1899 Arbitral Award which finalizes the boundary between the two countries.
Venezuela has rejected the ruling and is maintaining a claim to 70% of Guyana’s territory, arguing that the 1899 agreement, which determined the boundaries between the two countries, is null and void.