Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Guyana President takes defence diplomacy to the UN in border case with Venezuela

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Guyana is taking out all the stops in its effort to protect its territorial integrity from the threat of Venezuela. Even though it believes in the integrity of a judicial settlement in the border controversy against Venezuela, it sees defence diplomacy as critical.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali told world leaders during his United Nations General Assembly address that Guyana remains true to peaceful processes for the resolution of the matter over the Essequibo region.

Ali said, “In the matter of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – challenged and threatened by Venezuela as it is, we remain – to quote the Secretary General at the opening of the General Debate yesterday – ‘committed to make the most of every diplomatic tool for the pacific settlement of disputes, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations’.”

Guyana will deny every effort to depart from these processes, Ali added.

The President noted that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has affirmed its jurisdiction to preside over the judicial settlement of the case brought before it by Guyana.

In addition to the homage Guyana has paid to the authority of the ICJ, Guyana’s statement at the UN and the rest of its diplomatic efforts on this matter represent its recognition that the settlement requires support on multiple avenues.

Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith, said Guyana places a premium on diplomacy as its first line of defence, with a view to mobilising support from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United States, Britain, the Commonwealth, and other stakeholders.

Professor Griffith also said during a recent Transforming Guyana webinar hosted by the Guyana Business Journal (GBJ) and Caribbean Policy Consortium (CPC) that though Guyana cannot match Venezuela militarily, it is important to secure military strength as part of its efforts. In this regard, Griffith noted he is pleased with statements President Ali has made in this regard.

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