Guyana’s AG: Maduro’s comments an abrogation
Georgetown – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall on Monday described recent statements by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, in which he declared that he will reconquer the disputed Essequibo region, as “an abrogation of international law” and a violation of international practices.
On January 7, Maduro issued a decree claiming sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights in the waters and seabed adjacent to Guyana’s coast, west of the Essequibo River, although the dispute is before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Venezuelan leader’s decree made mention of establishing a new “Territory for the development of the Atlantic Facade” in the Essequibo region.
“We consider it an abrogation of international law. That piece of land has been under the territorial control and sovereignty of Guyana for the past 200 hundred years and has never left Guyana’s physical control. It has always been considered our territory internationally, under all conventions and all maps of the world show that Essequibo belongs to Guyana,” Nandlall said on Monday morning while providing an update on the decades-old border dispute on Trinidad and Tobago’s CCN Tv6.
“We consider this a great act of aggression against our territory and we are taking it seriously as possible.”
Guyana has asked the ICJ to uphold the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award which settled the border between the then British Guiana and Venezuela.
Nandlall said Guyana has always taken a path of diplomacy in accordance with international rules and practices, and the move to the United Nations and subsequently to the ICJ was testimony of this.
Following the new claims by Maduro, the Guyana government sought and received support from the region and further afield. It has received statements of support, including from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the United States and Canadian governments, for its move to have the dispute settled at the ICJ.
The Attorney General said Guyana is confident that other international organizations like the OAS and Commonwealth will, similarly, throw their support behind the country’s efforts to buttress its sovereignty with a juridical ruling.
“Venezuela has evinced a clear and settled train of actions that they are not prepared to abide by principles of democracy, the rule of law and abide by the international environment and law,” Nandlall said.
President Irfaan Ali had already outrightly rejected Maduro’s decree as a “legal nullity which will not be recognized by any state in the world”. He said Guyana is resolute and confident that the ICJ would rule in its favour.
The ICJ, on December 18, ruled it had jurisdiction to hear the case and rule upon the Arbitral Award, made on October 3rd, 1899, including its validity and legal consequence on both States. The case management for that matter comes up on January 25. (CMC)