[KAIETEUR NEWS, GUYANA] Venezuela, on Friday, again made it clear that it may not recognize any decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in the Hague, Netherlands, with regards to its claim on a large part of Essequibo.
The rejection of Guyana going to the ICJ would have come one day after Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, officially filed Guyana’s case with Registrar of the court, Philippe Couvreur.
“Likewise, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has reported that it expressly objects to the judicial settlement as a means of resolving the territorial dispute over Guyana Esequiba (Essequibo) since it violates the preamble of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, which establishes, exhaustively, that the controversy must be “amicably resolved in a way that is acceptable to both parties”.
Registrar of the International Court of Justice, Mr. Philippe Couvreur (left) and Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge on Thursday.
The aforementioned method also violates Article I, since it does not lead to “satisfactory solutions for the practical settlement of the dispute,” a statement of the Venezuela government said Friday.
Venezuela claimed that on Wednesday, its Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs on March 28, 2018, sent a Diplomatic Note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, establishing a position on the letter from the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, of January 30, 2018, in which he proposes the judicial settlement as a method of peaceful settlement of the territorial “dispute”.
Venezuela is insisting that the arbitration award of 1899, on the border between Venezuela and the then British Guiana, is null and void.
“In this regard, it has been made known to the Guyanese authorities that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects the content of the aforementioned letter, and this was made known to the Secretary General of the UN on February 25, 2018, because it exceeds the powers that they were granted by the figure of the Good Offices, mutually agreed by the parties, and contravenes the spirit, purpose and reason of the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966.”
Guyana has made it clear that it is not a dispute but rather a territorial claim by Venezuela.
The area that Venezuela is staking a claim on is about two-thirds of Essequibo, Guyana’s largest county that is filled with natural resources including gold and forests.
Venezuela is also laying claim to even Guyana waters in which US-owned ExxonMobil and its partners discovered oil in 2015.
“Similarly, the Guyanese government has (been told) that resorting to a judicial settlement to settle the dispute is unacceptable, sterile and unenforceable, given that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice as mandatory, and in this sense, it has always been consistent with its historical position of making an express reservation or not being a signatory of any international legal instrument that contains arbitration clauses that grant compulsory jurisdiction to the aforementioned Court.”
Venezuela now wants to restart diplomatic contacts that allow reaching a practical and satisfactory solution of the issue.
“These contacts will allow, in addition, to evaluate jointly the convenience of continuing with the figure of the Good Offices, under the auspices of the Secretary General of the UN, all in a context of cordiality and constructive and peaceful dialogue.”
Guyana has retained the services of former Attorney General, Sir Shridath Ramphal, to lead the legal team that is fighting the ICJ case.
The rejection by Venezuela would not be surprising.
Since 2015, when the David Granger government entered office, the neighbouring country has taken a hardline stance with the territorial claims widely seen as a distraction by the Nicolas Maduro-government as a distraction to that country’s financial crisis.