UNITED NATIONS (CMC) – Guyana has reiterated the danger that it says it is still facing on its borders as a consequence of the territorial claims by its western neighbor, Venezuela.
In addressing the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly Debate on Wednesday,Guyana’s President David Granger said since he addressed the Assembly last year, Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s territory “has not diminished or been diverted.”
“Guyana remains imperiled,” he said, adding that “disturbing developments within Venezuela have attracted the world’s attention and roused the concerns of many of us over the privations of its people.”
Granger said while the Caribbean people wish for the Caribbean to be a “Zone of Peace,” Venezuela’s claim to Guyana’s territorial integrity would be “a threat to that zone.”
“Venezuela is more than four times the size of Guyana. Venezuela, however, claims two-thirds of Guyana’s territory, including our maritime space.We depend on our territorial and maritime resources for development and for the release of our people from poverty,” he said.
The Guyanese president said the Venezuelan claim has persisted after 51 years of Guyanese independence.
He said an eminent international Arbitral Tribunal provided “a full, perfect and final settlement” 118 years ago, in 1899, and that Venezuela denounced that Arbitral Award in 1962 at the Decolonization Committee of the UN General Assembly as the then British Guiana strove for its independence.
“Guyana warns the world, through this Assembly, that peace will be at stake in our region if justice does not become ascendant, not only within Venezuela but also in respect to its border controversy with Guyana,” Granger said.
“Four UN Secretaries-General have been seized of the Venezuelan claims,” he added.
“The choice has become one between just and peaceful settlement in accordance with international law, and a Venezuelan posture of attrition that is increasingly more blustering and militaristic. In this matter, protraction is the enemy of resolution and the ally of sustained conflict.”
Fortunately, as they indicated publicly, Granger said former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and current Secretary General Antonio Guterres have decided that, under the 1966 Geneva Agreement, if by the end of the year 2017 significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the settlement of the controversy, the International Court of Justice will be the next means of peaceful settlement, unless Guyana and Venezuela jointly request otherwise.
Granger said Guyana has been “working assiduously” with the UN Secretary General’s Personal Representative on the Guyana-Venezuela border issues, adding that Guyana looks to the international community “to ensure that Venezuela is not allowed to thwart the processes of judicial settlement, which are the clear and agreed path to peace and justice.”
In stating that striving for peace must aim at resolving long-standing inter-state conflicts, the Guyana president supports calls for the reform of the UN Security Council “to give even greater voice to developing countries and a Venezuelan posture of attrition that is increasingly more blustering and militaristic. In this matter, protraction is the enemy of resolution and the ally of sustained conflict.”
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