“No place for unilateral action by Venezuela” –  UK Foreign Secretary

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The United Kingdom (UK) has reaffirmed its support for Guyana in its current border controversy with Venezuela. 

Foreign Secretary David Cameron in a statement reminded that the 1899 Arbitral Award settled the border matter, years ago. 

“I see absolutely no place for unilateral action by Venezuela. It should cease. It is wrong,” he said. 

OilNOW understands that Cameron is expected to engage Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali and other regional leaders today to ensure that Venezuela’s “retrograde step” does not escalate further. 

The 1899 Award was accepted by both Guyana and Venezuela for nearly sixty-three years. The two sides acted upon the Award when they established a Mixed British/Venezuelan Boundary Commission to demarcate the boundary. This demarcation was completed, and a joint report and map of the boundary were signed by both the British and Venezuelan Boundary Commissioners in 1905.

Guyana-Venezuela land boundary was settled 124 years ago

Some sixty-three years, after Venezuela had accepted the Award and sent its technical officials to help demarcate the boundary that the Tribunal laid down, Venezuela, suddenly, in 1962, claimed that the Award was null and void. Guyana, however, maintains that the Award is valid and has since asked the ICJ to reaffirm this. These proceedings are ongoing.

The ICJ recently ruled that Venezuela must refrain from actions that would compromise Guyana’s administration and control of the Essequibo territory. Tensions have grown since Guyana announced the results of its bid round a few months ago. 

In blatant disregard for the ICJ ruling, Maduro unveiled a revised map of his nation, incorporating the Essequibo region. Alongside this, he issued directives for the formation of fresh administrative bodies responsible for issuing licenses for oil, gas, and mineral exploration in the Essequibo area. Furthermore, he put forth a proposal for enacting legislation aimed at establishing designated environmentally protected zones, potentially serving as hubs for tourism and preserving biodiversity.

Reacting to Maduro’s actions, Guyana swiftly notified the United Nations Security Council. UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the binding nature of the ICJ decisions, urging both nations to adhere to the Court’s orders and honor their obligations under the UN Charter.


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