Commitment to peace secured as talks with Maduro continue – Pres. Ali

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By Kurt Campbell in St Vincent

kurt@newsroom.gy

After more than six hours and three rounds of meetings, the high-level dialogue between Presidents Irfaan Ali and Nicolas Maduro continues at the Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In the first two rounds of talks, the presidents engaged separately with CARICOM Heads and representatives from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Brazil and United Nations observers.

And then, in a third round, they met face to face, shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.

After their first session, President Ali emerged to brief the media and returned to the dialogue table.

President Ali said both sides have agreed and committed that peace in the region is priority.

“I want to say that we agreed with all the regional partners that the priority is peace and that every threat of force, or the use of force, must be denounced.

“And that every party must take responsibility.

“We made it very clear that Guyana is not the aggressor. Guyana is not seeking war but Guyana reserves the right to work with all our partners for the defence of our country,” Dr. Ali said during the break away press briefing.

He said both parties, Guyana and Venezuela, committed to ensuring the region remains a zone of peace.

“I made it clear that the process leading to the ICJ  (International Court of Justice) is part of the Geneva agreement and that the Geneva agreement provides for the UN Secretary General to determine where the controversy must be finally determined and it was the UN Secretary General, acting within the confines of the Geneva agreement, who determined that that place is the ICJ,” Dr. Ali also reminded.

President Ali gestures during a press briefing after his first round of talks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Also in photo are Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd. (Office of the President photo)

The Guyanese Head of State said he made it clear in the talks that Guyana has a right to exercise its sovereign right over it territory – the resource-rich Essequibo region which Venezuela claims.

He said Guyana will continue to facilitate investments, partnerships, trade, collaboration, cooperation and the issuing of any licences, along with the granting of any concessions in its territory.

Venezuela continues to assert claims over Guyana’s Essequibo region, a resource rich region of gold and diamonds and massive oilfields offshore. The International Court of Justice recently ruled that Guyana has governed and exercised sovereignty over the Essequibo Region since 1899 when an arbitration tribunal demarcated the land boundary between the two countries, and Venezuela should refrain from seeking to change that.

But Maduro pressed ahead with a referendum and then installed a governor he said would administer the affairs of Essequibo and issue ID cards to citizens and also grant licences for Venezuelan companies to work in Guyana.

Guyana and the international community have condemned the actions of the Venezuelan President and the high-level talks were called to seek a de-escalation of the conflict.

Guyana is working with key international allies, including the US and Brazil, to shore ups its defence capability given the threat by Venezuela.

President Ali said his talks with Maduro would focus on the fact that the 1899 award is what defined the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela and he would be uncompromising in that position.

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1 Comment
  1. Stephen Monohar Kangal says

    I cannot understand how the Caribbean can remain a Zone of Peace without justice prevailing in Guyana when in flagrant violation of the Charters of the UN and the OAS inclusive of the 1 December Judgment of the ICJ, Venezuela has quite unlawfully used its sham internal Consultative Referendum to seize control of the Essequibo Region and establish a litany of administrative measures with designated personnel inclusive of conducting mining , tourism and having given oil companies operating in the Stabroek Bloc, the lifeline of Guyana, three months to quit these areas all in complete and vulgar violation of international law as laid down by the ICJ (instantaneous international law) between the parties.
    How can there be peace in the region when Guyana has a more militant incarnation/ version of the perennial Venezuelan Sword of Damocles now more visible within its Essequibo County and extending to its appurtenant Territorial Sea, its EEZ and its natural prolongation of the continental shelf up to and beyond 200 miles?
    The Meeting should have agreed to persuade Venezuela to undertake internal discussions with a view to restoring the status quo ante 3 December 2023 when the ICJ ruled that Venezuela has no right to enter The Essequibo and to report at the next meeting in Brazil.
    Venezuela that is a party to the Charter of the ICJ ipso facto from being a founding member of the UN and having participated in the proceedings of the ICJ from the beginning up to 15 November cannot abdicate and indicate that it does not respect nor adhere to the recent ruling of the ICJ.
    This is international law from which Venezuela cannot derogate and the Communique allowed and endorsed Venezuelan lawlessness and circumventing of the principles of estoppel and recognition.
    Legally it cannot have its cake, eat it and abdicate the ruling of the ICJ. This is tantamount to pervasive lawlessness being endorsed by Caricom and CELAC.

    Once Venezuela’s now illegal claim to Essequibo and virtual annexation and administration is in place it constitutes a real threat to the peace in the Region because Guyana will not lie down and allow the Guardia Nacional to walk over it.

    How and when will this threat be removed or is it a part of the new status quo the interruption of which will be the cause for the violation of the Zone of peace?
    This Communique is heavily weighted in favour of Venezuela as you can expect from the previous ambivalence demonstrated by Mottley, Rowley, Gonzales and Skerrit.
    Caricom is happy with the new status quo created by an imperialistic Venezuela.

    Only Guyana can now violate the Zone of Peace or remain truncated of three quarters of its territorial sovereignty and political independence should it attempt resist this virtual invasion and annexation of its territory in exercise of its inviolable right to self defense.
    This Zone of Peace concept taking precedence over the mandatory and binding provisions of the UN and OAS Charters is a fig leaf behind which some Caricom members are hiding their true positioning on the Guyana-Venezuela controversy.

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