Guyana expects unanimous support from UN Security Council


The United Nations (UN) Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss rising tensions between Guyana and Venezuela in the decades-old border controversy.

This follows a request from Guyana, sent by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd.

Todd asked the council’s president to “call urgently for a meeting” to discuss Venezuela’s aggressive claims over Essequibo, an oil-rich region under Guyanese administration for more than 100 years.

Ahead of that meeting on Friday, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo told a press conference in Georgetown on Thursday that Guyana has representatives on standby to attend the meeting but expects unanimous support from the UN Security Council.

“We want Venezuela to comply with the ruling of the ICJ, that is what we want.

“It’s a simple question before the Security Council,” Jagdeo said.

The Security Council is an arm of the United Nations just as the International Court of Justice is.

Guyana will join the premier body for maintaining international peace and security, starting in January, 2024 and serving for a two-year period.

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo

The Security Council has five permanent members —the United States, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom and Jagdeo believes all will vote in favour of the order handed down by the ICJ.

“The vote must be unanimous,” Jagdeo said in response to a question on Guyana’s next steps if the members are at loggerheads.

“Every member of the Security Council, permanent and non-permanent, they believe and is part of the UN process… so they have to respect the ruling of an agency that is part of the United Nations umbrella which is the ICJ,” Jagdeo posited.

To this end, the Vice President believes all members would support Guyana’s request.

The ICJ, which is presiding over the substantive border case, ruled on December 1 that Venezuela shall refrain from seeking to seize control of the Essequibo.

The boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was determined by an arbitration tribunal 124 years ago, but Venezuela rejected the award in 1962, saying it was flawed.

A mechanism was set up to solve the controversy and after decades of talks failed, the United Nations Secretary General referred the matter to the ICJ, which is the UN’s principal judicial organ.

The court has determined it can hear and decide on the case, but Venezuela put forward its sham referendum, asking its citizens to vote on the annexation of Essequibo before the Court can rule.

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