Venezuela has objected to a decision by United Nation’s (UN) Secretary General (SG), Antonio Gueteres, to refer its border objections with Guyana to the International Court of Justice, calling instead for a continued ‘Good Offices’ mechanism.
The former British Colony is having none of it however, with its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice President Carl Greenidge on Monday declaring; “…the good officer process as Guyanese know it has finished…it has been completed.”
He is adamant that the framework as set out under the United Nations Geneva Convention had been employed for 25 years, to no avail, “and we are now moving to the one (other option) chosen by the SG.”
Speaking to a gathering of the Guyanese media representatives at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Vice President Greenidge did leave room for further dialogue with its Venezuelan counterparts ahead of its imminent court battle.
According to Mr. Greenidge, “we stand ready to work along with the SG, Venezuela and whomever else, to solve any problems that may arise in this phase.”
He was adamant however, “the old arrangement regarding good offices and the attempts the by the UN to have other forms of resolutions of the problem prior to the court, those have been exhausted.”
The Guyanese Vice President posited, “we have and we will continue to be members of the UN…within the framework of the UN, the SG has a role in any dialogue between countries that may pose challenges in that regard and I take it that Venezuela clearly is aware of that framework.”
Knob of Contention
Mr. Greenidge also used the opportunity to dismiss several public speculations that have arisen in wake of the decision by the Secretary General and Venezuela’s objections.
He surmised that there is an allegation on the part of the Venezuelan government that forms the ‘knob of contention’ in that the treaty is null and void and “that is what the court has to decide…if they (Venezuelan) are so convinced that it (1899 treaty) is null and void, (then) that is the forum.”
The Guyanese Vice President also downplayed assertions that Venezuela could somehow not be a party to the proceedings at the ICJ, saying, “the international community has a forum and that is the UN…the decision has been made that the problem before us is a legal one and therefore to be resolved by the highest court in the international arena.”
According to Vice President Greenidge, the arbitral award was signed by Venezuela in 1899 and the borderlines marked by the Venezuelans and the British, “not Brazilians or Germans.”
As such, “…this direction is to resolve an allegation that somehow and international treaty is null and void and it doesn’t matter who doesn’t want to support their own arguments, it’s a legal issue,” he stated.