See below full statement issued by Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation:
February 17, 2023 marks the 57th Anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Agreement and invites its commemoration as a binding international agreement between the Parties. Concluded on the eve of our country’s Independence between the United Kingdom, Venezuela and British Guiana, it governs the resolution of the controversy which had arisen as a result of Venezuela’s baseless and ill-chosen contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 is ‘null and void’. It removed the roadblock to Guyana’s independence that Venezuela had, with imperial ambition, sought to erect.
Under the Geneva Agreement, that controversy is now, with the approval of the international community, before the International Court of Justice in whose impartial and independent upholding of the rule of international law Guyana has absolute confidence. Venezuela has sought over the years to undermine the Agreement and specifically to frustrate the resolution of the controversy by judicial process even when, as now, it is obliged to participate.
As Guyana’s lawful development of its resources proceeds, it is pertinent today to emphasise that the Geneva Agreement imposes no obligation on Guyana to refrain from economic development activities in any portion of its territory, or any appurtenant maritime areas.
Any unilateral attempt by Venezuela to restrict the exercise by Guyana of its sovereignty and sovereign rights will be wholly inconsistent with the Geneva Agreement and the rule of international law.
On this Anniversary Day of that historic Agreement, Guyana considers that no greater homage can be paid to it by our sister Republic than full compliance with its terms, including Article IV paragraph 2, pursuant to which the Secretary General of the United Nations has chosen the International Court of Justice as the means for final and binding settlement of the controversy.
Guyana looks forward to Venezuela’s return to the judicial processes of the Geneva Agreement in abandonment of its earlier imperial goal. There could be no greater mark of respect for the Agreement by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.