Venezuela’s government is signaling its intent to go to the International Criminal Court (ICJ) to defend its claim in proceedings brought forward by Guyana regarding the ongoing territorial controversy between the two South American neighbours.
According to a report on Telesur, Venezeula says that it will act through all legal and diplomatic means to resolve the dispute.
“The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, faithful to its historical position and in accordance with Bolivarian Peace Diplomacy, reiterates its firm willingness to defend the territorial integrity of our country based on the 1966 Geneva Agreement, the legal framework that governs the territorial dispute of Essequibo,” the statement released by Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry said, Telesur reported.
The territorial matter was settled in an 1899 arbitral award which Venezuela accepted up until 1966, when Guyana gained independence from the British.
Guyana’s position has always been that the matter was resolved over 100 years ago, but Venezuela, from 1966 onwards, has rejected the 1899 award, deeming it null and void.
The controversy intensified after US oil major ExxonMobil discovered large quantities of oil off the Guyana coast in 2015.
Guyana has pressed for the matter being referred to the ICJ which the United Nations followed through with earlier this year.