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Caribbean News Today

GUYANA | US now backs Guyana in border row with Venezuela

Featured Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, who is performing the functions of Prime Minister, in discussion with Ambassador Holloway and Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Guyana, Terry Steers-Gonzalez. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, who is performing the functions of Prime Minister, in discussion with Ambassador Holloway and Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Guyana, Terry Steers-Gonzalez.
GEORGETOWN, November 17, 2018 - The official United States (US)  position on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy has shifted in favour of Guyana. This is the word from the US Deputy Chief of Mission in Guyana, Terry Steers-Gonzalez, who noted that previously, the US would simply support a timely resolution of the controversy. Now it wants the 1899 arbitration award respected.

Speaking at Friday’s farewell ceremony for the US Ambassador, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Terry Steers-Gonzalez said the outgoing US Ambassador, Perry Holloway played a key role in getting that position shifted by the US government.

Steers-Gonzalez, told the farewell reception for the American envoy, “Previously, we had simply “support[ed] the timely resolution of the Venezuela-Guyana border controversy.” In large measure because of Ambassador Holloway, the U.S. Government now also “calls on all parties to respect the 1899 arbitration decision….” While some might discount this seemingly simple addition, most of us present tonight understand how truly big it was, and is. Well done Sir!”

The Deputy Chief Mission indicated that the change in the US’ narrative was significant. “While some might discount this seemingly simple addition, most of us present tonight understand how truly big it was, and is, Well done Sir!,” Steers-Gonzalez added.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenridge, who is currently performing the duties of Prime Minister, acknowledged the critical role the US played in facilitating the process that led to the Arbitral Award of 1899. 

Greenidge said the US’ position “is an extremely important statement, an extremely strong statement; one that we mention most heartily.”

“The fact that the US is, at this time, prompted to call in both the parties that were signatories to the Paris Agreement of 1899 is of great significance. It is of special significance to Guyana because all that Guyana wants is the respect of a treaty that the two parties signed and which for all of sixty-three years both parties embraced,” said Greenidge.

He reminded that the US played a critical role in the 1897 treaty which spawned the 1899 arbitration award.

United Nations Secretary General in early 2018 handed the border controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to determine whether the award was full final and perfect. Guyana and Venezuela have since been given deadlines by the ICJ to file certain supporting documents.

Although Venezuela has indicated it will not recognise the Court, Guyana has been moving ahead with its filings. So far, Venezuela has chosen not to participate in the process.

Guyana’s position has always been that the 1899 arbitration award is binding and should be respected. But despite that position, Venezuela has repeatedly made claims to Guyana’s territory and maritime areas.

  • Countries: Guyana

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