Authorities in Guyana spoke of their ongoing border dispute with Venezuela, saying that they were seeking a permanent and unquestionable resolution to the issue. They also spoke in favour of accepting established international borders, a feature of nations in the western hemisphere which has allowed them to maintain peace and commit to prosperity.
“Accepting established borders has been the tradition in our hemisphere, a tradition that has shielded our nations from conflicts, paving the way for peace, cooperation and development,” President Irfaan Ali told the Protocolary Meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a ruling in April which rejected Venezuela’s preliminary objection to Guyana’s application for the upholding of the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award settling the boundaries between the two nations.
This ruling from Hague was based on a 14 to 1 vote, which now allows arbitrations to begin on the substantive application by Guyana. This will now focus on the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award itself.
Venezuela also made the argument that the United Kingdom should be an equal part of the proceedings in light of the fact that it was the prevailing colonial power in Guyana in the past. This claim was vehemently rejected by the ICJ as well.
Incidentally, last November Venezuela had stated that the ICJ could not hear the case and that the 1899 Arbitral Award is the perfect settlement of the land border between the two nations, because Britain is not a party to the proceedings. This self-contradiction in Venezuela’s stance has garnered the ire of many.
Based on the Articles of the Geneva Convention of February, 1966, the ICJ ruled that it was quite clear that the two parties to the settlement of the controversy over the arbitral award were British Guiana and Venezuela.
It also rejected the argument that the principle of Monetary Gold, where a third party is absent from the proceedings bans the tribunal from acting, does not apply.
This prompted the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to operate under Article 33 of the UN Charter, to refer the controversy to the ICJ, in accordance with Guyana’s request.
“Our acceptance of the decision of the UN Secretary-General to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice which is currently hearing the case is a testament to our unwavering commitment to those principles. Our stance mirrors the ethos of this organisation that disputes should be settled peacefully, in the furtherance of international law.”
“Guyana stands firm in its belief, that peaceful settlements of disputes, is not merely an option, but a duty and a cornerstone principle of the OAS charter. In a world where shifting geo-political dynamics challenged established norms, Guyana re-affirms its unwavering commitment to the principles enshrined in both the OAS and UN charter,” Ali said, adding that Guyana will allow international laws to bring the matter to a swift and definitive close.
“We’ll continue to champion the cause of international law as we seek a lasting, peaceful resolution to a territorial claim, one that was resurrected on the brink of our independence after decades of acceptance” President Ali stated.
He also made it a point to mention that Guyana is looking forward to beginning its stint as a UN Security Council member albeit on a temporary basis. Guyana is scheduled to take its seat on the council as a non-permanent member from the 1st of January, 2024.