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    Ministry of Foreign Affairs Statement

    STATEMENT BY HON. CARL GREENIDGE, VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOR ON THE FILING OF GUYANA’S APPLICATION WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE MARCH 29, 2018

    Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Guyanese.

    I have submitted on behalf of Guyana an Application to the Court to initiate legal proceedings in regard to Venezuela’s claim that the 1899 Arbitral Award is invalid.  As you are aware, the consequence of this assertion is to put into question Guyana’s sovereignty over two thirds of its territory.

    The Application therefore asks the Court to confirm in a final and binding judgment the full legal validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award that delimited our land boundary with Venezuela.  Coming from the principal judicial organ of the UN, such a judgment will once and for all put to rest this baseless contention.

    As you are aware, Guyana has suffered from Venezuela’s contention of nullity ever since our independence in 1966.  This assertion has undermined our ability to develop our sovereign territory and resources, including our natural wealth in the sea.  By means of a judgment of the Court our objective is to put this controversy to a definitive end so Guyana and Venezuela can live together as neighbours without the shadow of this conflict.

    This course of action follows the decision of UN Secretary-General, His Excellency Antonio Guterres, to choose the Court as the means for resolving this controversy. On January 30th of this year, just two months ago, the new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, decided that the Good Offices Process has come to an end, and that the Court should now settle the controversy by means of a final and binding decision.

    Now that the Application is before the Court, the process leading to this final judgment has commenced.  This is a great moment for the rule of law worldwide and for the peaceful resolution of conflict in our Caribbean region.  Above all it is a great moment for the future prosperity and security of Guyana and for the betterment of our neighbourly relations with our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.

    We will now await the response of the Court to our Application.  Venezuela of course has the right to respond and disagree with Guyana’s position on the validity of the 1899 Award.  But either way the process leading to a final judgment has now been set into motion.

    This judicial process will unfold in several stages and the Government of Guyana will periodically inform the public of its progress. This is likely to be a lengthy process, but having waited more than fifty years, we are fully committed to seeing it through until the very end.

    The Government of Guyana looks forward to the continuing support of the Guyanese people as we move forward with this historic process in pursuit of justice.

    Peace Palace in The Hague, the Seat of the International Court of Justice.

    Peace Palace in The Hague, the Seat of the International Court of Justice.

    Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana

     

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