Georgetown, Guyana – (February 19, 2016)
President David Granger, today, met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, at the UN Headquarters in New York. The purpose of the meeting was to update the Secretary General on the situation in regards the controversy with Venezuela and to listen to what the Secretary General had to say concerning his attempts to resolve this issue.
The President restated to the Head of the UN that Guyana always believed that what was at issue in this controversy was legal in character and had to be settled by a legal process. The Head of State reasserted Guyana’s choice of a ‘juridical settlement’ and asked, once again, that Venezuela’s legal contention that the 1899 Arbitral Award is null and void be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for resolution.
In reaffirming Guyana’s case for the controversy to be resolved through a juridical settlement, the President pointed out that all sides are agreed that the Geneva Agreement is operative and that the same agreement empowers the UN Secretary General to choose a juridical settlement as a means of final settlement if all parties cannot agree.
The President pointed out that the failure to resolve this controversy places Guyana at risk. The Secretary General was reminded that in October 2013, Venezuela sent a naval corvette into Guyana’s waters to expel a petroleum exploration vessel. Venezuela, again, in October 2015 wrote to a Canadian gold mining corporation in Guyana threatening legal action for alleged trespass on Guyana’s territory, which claimed by Venezuela.
The 50th anniversary of the Geneva Agreement was observed on February 17 last. His Excellency told the Secretary General that Guyana has lived with the promise that this Agreement would have brought an end to the territorial controversy and that the Guyanese people could enjoy the benefits of Independence.
The President used the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Secretary General for his engagement in exploring means of resolving this controversy and for keeping his promise to find a way forward. President Granger reiterated that Guyana has always cooperated with the representatives of the Secretary General, who were engaged in meeting with both sides.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Legal Counsel, Mr. Payam Akhavan and the Mr. George Talbot, Guyana’s Permanent Mission Representative to the UN.