PRESS STATEMENT BY MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON DECISION BY UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL ON BORDER CONTROVERSY BETWEEN GUYANA AND VENEZUELA

30 Jan

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PRESS STATEMENT BY MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON DECISION BY UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL ON BORDER CONTROVERSY BETWEEN GUYANA AND VENEZUELA

 

Guyana welcomes the decision of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to refer the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Guyana has always held the view that the ICJ is the appropriate forum for the peaceful and definitive settlement of the controversy, and is pleased that that view has prevailed under the process developed by both Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Guyana will not allow factors extraneous to the controversy to influence its referral to the Court; but it will continue the advancement of peaceful relations with Venezuela whose people are the brothers and sisters of Guyanese. In this context, Guyana acknowledges the Secretary General’s suggestions for the immediate future.

That Guyana has stood firm against Venezuela’s attempt to re-open a territorial boundary settled and recognised for half a century before its independence, and done so despite the manifest unequal strengths between the two countries, is to our national credit. Guyana, as one of the world’s small developing countries, is pleased that its reliance on the rule of law internationally has been the underpinning of its national sovereignty.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

January 30, 2018

 

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela [scroll down for Spanish version]

The longstanding border controversy between the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela arose as a result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela is null and void. In the Geneva Agreement of 1966, Guyana and Venezuela conferred upon the Secretary-General the power and responsibility to choose a means of peaceful settlement from amongst those contemplated in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations. The Geneva Agreement also provides that if the means so chosen does not lead to a solution of the controversy, the Secretary-General is to choose another means of settlement.

Former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon communicated to the parties on 15 December 2016 a framework for the resolution of the border controversy based on his conclusions on what would constitute the most appropriate next steps. Notably, he concluded that the Good Offices Process, which had been conducted since 1990, would continue for one final year, until the end of 2017, with a strengthened mandate of mediation. He also reached the conclusion that if, by the end of 2017, his successor, Secretary-General António Guterres, concluded that significant progress had not been made towards arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy, he would choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement, unless the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela jointly requested that he refrain from doing so.

In early 2017, Secretary-General Guterres appointed a Personal Representative, Mr. Dag Halvor Nylander, who engaged in intensive high-level efforts to seek a negotiated settlement to the controversy.

The Secretary-General has carefully analysed developments in 2017 in the good offices process and has concluded that significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy. Accordingly, the Secretary-General has fulfilled the responsibility that has fallen to him within the framework set by his predecessor in December 2016, and has chosen the International Court of Justice as the means to be used for the solution of the controversy.

In reaching this decision, the Secretary-General has also reached the conclusion that Guyana and Venezuela could benefit from the continued good offices of the United Nations through a complementary process established on the basis of the powers of the Secretary-General under the Charter of the United Nations.

The Secretary-General, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations, remains committed to accompany both States as they seek to overcome their differences regarding this border controversy.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

***

Declaración atribuible al Portavoz del Secretario General sobre la controversia fronteriza entre Guyana y Venezuela

La controversia fronteriza de larga data entre la República Cooperativa de Guyana y la República Bolivariana de Venezuela surgió como consecuencia de la contención venezolana de que el Laudo Arbitral de 1899 sobre la frontera entre Venezuela y Guayana Británica es nulo e írrito. En el Acuerdo de Ginebra de 1966, Guyana y Venezuela le confirieron al Secretario General la potestad y la responsabilidad de elegir un medio de solución pacífica entre aquellos contemplados en el Artículo 33 de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas.  El Acuerdo de Ginebra también prevé que si el medio así escogido no conduce a una solución de la controversia, el Secretario General debe de escoger otro medio de solución.

El ex Secretario General Ban Ki-moon le comunicó a las partes el 15 de diciembre de 2016 un marco para la resolución de la controversia fronteriza basado en sus conclusiones sobre lo que constituirían los próximos pasos más adecuados. En particular, llegó a la conclusión que el Proceso de Buenos Oficios, que se había realizado desde 1990, continuaría por un último año, hasta finales del 2017, con un mandato de mediación reforzado.  También llegó a la conclusión que si, a finales del 2017, el Secretario General António Guterres, como su sucesor, llegara a la conclusión que no se había alcanzado progreso significativo en llegar a una solución a la controversia, elegiría la Corte Internacional de Justicia como el próximo medio de solución, salvo que los Gobiernos de Guyana y Venezuela solicitaran conjuntamente que eso no se hiciera.

A principios de 2017, el Secretario General Guterres nombró a un Representante Personal, el Sr. Dag Halvor Nylander, quien se dedicó a una serie de esfuerzos intensivos de alto nivel para intentar llegar a un arreglo negociado a la controversia.

El Secretario General ha analizado detenidamente lo acontecido en el transcurso de 2017 en el proceso de buenos oficios y ha llegado a la conclusión que no se ha alcanzado progreso significativo en llegar a una solución a la controversia. Por consiguiente, el Secretario General ha cumplido con la responsabilidad que le ha correspondido dentro del marco establecido por su predecesor en diciembre de 2016, y ha escogido a la Corte Internacional de Justicia como el medio a ser utilizado para la resolución de la controversia.

Al llegar a esta decisión, el Secretario General también ha llegado a la conclusión que Guyana y Venezuela podrían beneficiarse de continuidad en los buenos oficios de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas mediante un proceso complementario establecido sobre la base de las facultades del Secretario General en la Carta de las Naciones Unidas.

El Secretario General, de conformidad con los principios de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, sigue comprometido a acompañar a ambos Estados mientras buscan superar sus diferencias con respecto a esta controversia fronteriza.

Stéphane Dujarric, Portavoz del Secretario General

 

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