Border controversy not up for discussion but President Ali willing to engage Maduro on shared issues


Guyana will not engage Venezuela on the border controversy that is squarely before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) but President Dr. Irfaan Ali says he remains open to discussing shared issues with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro.

President Ali says his openness to engaging Mr. Maduro is grounded in maturity and responsibility.

“As a good neighbour, understanding that we live in the same regions and share the same space, understanding that there are important issues that must be addressed together, I have always said that I am prepared to meet on this matter and address those issues as all good neighbours do,” President Ali told reporters at a press conference on Saturday.

The Head of State made it clear that the border controversy, which is before the ICJ, cannot be part of any talks between himself and Mr. Maduro.

“We have chosen the ICJ as the place where the controversy from Venezuela must be settled.

Members of the press and other officials at a press conference hosted by President Dr Irfaan Ali (Photo: Office of the President/November 18, 2023)

“The matter is properly before the court so it is not up for negotiations and discussions,” he said.

Bilateral talks, in the past, have failed to bring a resolution to the Guyana/ Venezuela controversy.

After decades of negotiations failed to bring a resolution to the border controversy, the United Nations Secretary-General referred the controversy to the World Court and Guyana filed its case in March 2018 to obtain a full and final settlement.

The provision for the UN Secretary-General to determine the means to permanently settle the border controversy is provided for in the Geneva Agreement. This agreement was signed by then Prime Minister of Guyana Forbes Burnham and Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ignacio Borges in 1966 shortly after Venezuela first raised an objection to the 1899 arbitral award that settled the boundaries of Guyana.

Because of that, the controversy was referred to the ICJ.

Venezuela accepted that award and participated in the marking of the boundary line, accepting Guyana’s land area as legal, doing so for six decades until it raised an objection to the arbitral award on the eve of Guyana’s independence from Great Britain.

1 Comment
  1. Stephen Monohar Kangal says

    When the British administered British Guiana up to 1962 the Venezuelans did not raise any objections to the 1899 Award coward as they were because they could not intimidate the British with their superior armed forces but did so as Guyana was on the brink of attaining independence from Britain.
    At present Venezuela is using the threat of invasion and annexation of the Essequibo with the use of force as enshrined in their five questions to be considered by the Referendum for four reasons:
    1 To scuttle the ICJ proceedings by taking ownership control of the Essequibo;
    2. To intimidate and force Guyana to abandon the ICJ process and resume diplomatic talks that Venezuela can control and force a settlement on the Guyanese by coercive means;
    3. To make a tactical pre-emptive strike to acquire the Essequibo Region before Guyana can use its new rapidly increasing wealth to arm itself adequately and /or conclude military alliances and arrangements with friendly states to come to its aid to repel a Venezuelan assault;
    4. To generate political and investment uncertainty with a threat of invasion to decelerate the investment climate and reduce investment inflows as well as endanger the integrity of the current off-shore oil producing infrastructure and installations that may be favourable to Russia but repugnant to the Southern Command.

    Guyana has made it pellucidly clear with its policy that it will not resume diplomatic bilateral talks because the matter is completely under the exclusive adjudicative jurisdiction and deliberations at the ICJ after failure to reach an amicable settlement after 27 years of dialogue. This is a most reasonable position to assume because I cannot foresee on what unforeseen legal grounds the ICJ can make and render the 1899 Treaty invalid and proceed to change or alter the 1899 boundary.
    “…4. Supports the Government in its pursuit to ensure a peaceful and lawful resolution of the controversy before the International Court of Justice and rejects the proposal to return to any form of dialogue with Venezuela on the controversy outside of the process before the Court;…” Operative paragraph 4 of the Assembly Resolution.
    Venezuela is playing zero sum games to bolster Maduro’s 2024 Elections prospects and holding a whole country of Guyana to ransom and creating fears of a full scale invasion followed by annexation unless it can be taught a lesson by the Americans and Brazilians.

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