Guyana not in agreement with procedure to bypass ICJ as it rejects Venezuela’s ‘grotesque’ claims

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See the full statement delivered by Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett in exercise of the right of reply to the statement by Venezuela’s Foreign Minister in the General Debate of the 78th United National General Assembly:

(September 26, 2023, UNHQ in New York) In his address in the General Debate of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, 23rd September 2023, the Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela allowed himself falsehoods that were excessive even by their accustomed standards of untruthfulness in relation to my country.

The intelligence of the international community should not be insulted by Venezuela’s allegations that Guyana is allowing its territory to be used as a platform for military aggression against any State including the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

This all derives from Venezuela’s grotesque claim to two thirds of Guyana. Throughout, the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has acted, and continues to act in relation to neighbouring Venezuela, in full accordance with international law and has consistently invited the Government of Venezuela to do the same.

In particular, Guyana urges Venezuela to confirm its adherence to the judicial processes of the International Court of Justice in the matter of Venezuela’s basic contention regarding the border between our countries. Venezuela’s diatribes – not confined to Guyana alone – are refuted in full measure.

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana wishes to remind Venezuela of the following:

The 1966 Geneva Agreement is in fact the binding legal instrument that provides for the settlement of the controversy over the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award and the land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.

The obligatory settlement procedure is set forth in Article IV of the 1966 Geneva Agreement. Under that Article, when bilateral negotiations failed to achieve a settlement, Guyana and Venezuela agreed to refer the controversy to the United Nations Secretary General to choose the means of final settlement.

The Secretary General chose, in the first instance, the use of his good offices to bring about a settlement satisfactory to both parties.

The good offices process took place with the participation of Guyana and Venezuela over a period of more than 20 years, without success or any progress toward success.

In January 2018, acting in accordance with Article IV of the Geneva Agreement, the Secretary General determined that the good offices process had failed, and he chose a new means of dispute settlement: litigation before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Under Article IV, his decision was binding on Guyana and Venezuela. Guyana then filed an Application with the Court seeking its final and binding Judgment on the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award and the boundary between the two States, in accordance with Article IV of the 1966 Geneva Agreement and the Secretary General’s decision of January 2018. Venezuela twice appeared before the Court to object to its exercise of jurisdiction in the matter, and the Court rejected Venezuela’s objections both times. The Court ruled that the basis of its jurisdiction was precisely Article IV of the Geneva 3 Agreement and the Secretary General’s decision that the dispute should be resolved by the Court.

Accordingly, if Venezuela truly believes that the best, or the only, way to resolve the controversy is by adherence to the 1966 Geneva Agreement, then it should adhere to that Agreement and plead its case to the ICJ, and accept the decision of the Court, when it is issued, as a final and binding settlement of the controversy.

Guyana will not agree to any procedure that contradicts the express provisions of the Geneva Agreement and bypasses the Court, which is the only means of settlement that is now authorized by Article IV of that Agreement.

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1 Comment
  1. Stephen Monohar Kangal says

    Venezuela is attempting to annexe two thirds of Guyanese territory over which it has exercised continuous and unbroken sovereignty jurisdiction and total control without subjecting its outlandish claim to the competence of the ICJ before which the matter is being transacted in the Hague. Guyana has the unequivocal support of the international community including the OAS, Caricom and the Commonwealth of Nations.
    Guyana must not relent in its pursuit to retain and exercise its territorial sovereignty over 83,000 square miles without giving up a square inch to the the imperialist expansionary Bolivarian Republic. Guyana however will be forced to acquire military hardware instead of buying butter to feed its people and this is a grave injustice to their right to explore and exploit the huge wealth that God has embedded in the earth and in its appurtenant hydrocarbon rich maritime zones extending way beyond 200 miles into the Atlantic.
    All law abiding and civilised nations must support Giyana in its legitimate quest to retain what the 1899 Award allocated to it and over which it exercised exclusive jurisdiction and control within set borders and reject this obscene Venezuela claim by a rejected dictator bent on dislocating the Zone of Peace of the Caribbean.

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