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Guyana discusses border dispute with OAS


Guyana discusses border dispute with OAS
Guyana’s prime minister Bharrat Jagdeo, president Dr Irafaan Ali, permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett and foreign secretary Robert Persaud (on the left) engage with a team from the Organisation of American States, which was led by the bloc’s secretary general, Luis Almagro (centre right) - Guyana Chronicle

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NEW YORK CITY – Guyana said it would hold steadfast to international law, rather than threats and violence in its long-running border dispute with Venezuela.

This was the sentiment of Guyana president Dr Irfaan Ali when he held talks with the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro on Tuesday on the side-lines of the United Nations general assembly.

A statement from the Office of the President said several matters were highlighted during the discussion.

They included the strengthening of democracy in Guyana through electoral reform, support for Guyana’s position on the border controversy with Venezuela, and Guyana’s position following the Venezuelan government-opposition accord agreed earlier this month in Mexico.

The statement said the rejection by Venezuela’s government and opposition of the ruling last December of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it had the authority to rule on the border controversy case brought by Guyana was especially important.

Earlier this month, the Guyana government said it “firmly rejects” an agreement signed between the Venezuela government and an opposition party in its South American neighbour, formally agreeing to unite on the question of the long-standing claim to the ownership of a large swathe of Guyana.

Georgetown said the agreement between the Nicolas Maduro government and the Unity Platform of Venezuela was signed in Mexico City.

“That agreement is an overt threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement.

Venezuela is maintaining a claim to an estimated 70 per cent of Guyana’s land – the Essequibo region, including Guyana’s offshore oil reserves – with Caracas arguing that the 1899 agreement, which determined the boundaries between the two countries is null and void.

The statement from the Office of the President said instead of engaging the ICJ, the two Venezuelan parties are urging Guyana to engage in direct negotiations.

The Norway-brokered deal was reached alongside representatives from The Netherlands, Bolivia, Russia and Turkey.