“This Essequibo is ours, every square inch of it” – President Ali

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Standing on the land Venezuela is attempting to claim as its own, Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali affirmed that his country does not plan on surrendering its territory. 

“This Essequibo is ours, every square inch of it,” he declared on October 27. 

Venezuela’s aggression towards Guyana has increased over the past month; the country is now attempting to make Essequibo a Venezuelan state through a national referendum. And this is while a case is before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to pronounce on the validity of an Arbitral Award that settle the land boundary between the two countries some 124 years ago. 

Joint statement by Guyana President, opposition leader on Venezuela | OilNOW

“The 1899 Arbitral Award made it clear that it was a full and final settlement, the Geneva Agreement provided for the United Nations (UN) secretary-general to take this controversy raised by Venezuela to the ICJ and we respect international law. We are a lawful and peaceful people. We respect international law and that is where this controversy by Venezuela must be settled. There must be no other place but in the realms of the ICJ…” the President explained. 

Venezuela’s new wave of threats began just a day after Guyana announced the results of its first offshore oil auction. Public statements attacking the country and oil companies that participated in the bid round were consecutive. Things escalated when Venezuela passed a motion in its national assembly reaffirming its territorial claim over Guyana’s Essequibo region and increased troop movement at the shared border. Then came the national referendum questions.

Guyana’s government has expressed profound concern over Venezuela’s actions, viewing them as potentially escalating tensions between the two nations. To resolve the territorial controversy, Guyana firmly holds that the appropriate platform is the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The ICJ has affirmed its jurisdiction twice to settle the controversy, offering the potential for a final, binding, and equitable solution in accordance with international law.

Guyana has requested from the ICJ provisional measures that block Venezuela’s referendum. A statement from the government on October 31 said that Guyana is seeking orders to prevent Venezuela from taking any action to seize, acquire or encroach upon, or assert or exercise sovereignty over, the Essequibo Region or any other part of Guyana’s national territory, pending the Court’s final determination of the validity of the Arbitral Award that established the land boundary between the two States, and the final and binding nature of that boundary.

The United States, CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) have publicly condemned Venezuela’s recent aggressive actions. Brazil has expressed to Guyana, its support for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to resolve the controversy.

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