‘Guyana reserves the right to develop its resources’ – President Ali responds to Venezuela


President Dr. Irfaan Ali says Guyana has the right to develop resources in any part of its territory, in response to a statement issued earlier Tuesday by the Venezuelan government.

In that statement, Venezuela rejected Guyana’s ongoing oil auction which would see new companies being able to search for and possibly produce oil offshore Guyana.

But the Guyanese Head of State has reaffirmed that the territory being claimed by Venezuela belongs to Guyana.

So he said, “The Government of Guyana reserves the right to pursue economic development activities in any portion of its sovereign territory or any appurtenant maritime territories.”

In an invited comment when contacted by the News Room, Dr. Ali also added, “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.”

Guyana’s inaugural oil auction closed on September 12. Fourteen blocks, 11 in shallow water and three in deepwater, were up for auction; eight blocks received bids and the government is in the process of assessing those bids.

Venezuela claims it owns Guyana’s Essequibo region, and a portion of the country’s exclusive economic zone that includes areas under oil exploration, but that border case is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The World Court already found that it has the jurisdiction to preside over the matter and Guyana has submitted its memorial on the merits of its case.

Guyana is seeking a final and binding judgement that the 1899 Arbitral Award, which established the location of the land boundary between then British Guiana and Venezuela, remains valid and that the Essequibo region belongs to Guyana and not Venezuela.

President Ali, Foreign Minister Hugh Todd and other high-ranking government officials are currently in New York for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78).

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