The United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres says that any action which will either “aggravate” or “extend” the ongoing Guyana/ Venezuela border controversy should be avoided, particularly now that the matter is squarely before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Mr. Guterres, in a statement, is said to be following the “recent escalation of tension” between the states with concern. He, however, urged both parties to act in “good faith.”
Guyana has criticised Venezuela for its attempts to hold a consultative referendum, to be held on December 3, in Venezuela where the government will seek the support of citizens in continuance of its claim of Guyana’s Essequibo region.
Guyana views the move as an affront to the ongoing juridical process currently before the ICJ, which is also called the World Court. Next, the ICJ will hear arguments against this referendum from Guyana.
The Secretary- General also noted that the ICJ is where the controversy should be settled.
“In January 2018, after carefully analysing developments in the good offices process that had taken place over the preceding years, the Secretary-General, in the exercise of the power and responsibility conferred on him by the 1966 Geneva Agreement, chose the International Court of Justice as the means that was next to be used for the solution of the border controversy between the two countries.
“The controversy is now before the International Court of Justice. The Secretary-General does not express a view on matters that are the subject of ongoing judicial proceedings,” the statement noted.
The borders of Guyana and Venezuela were determined by an arbitral tribunal on October 3, 1899, and Venezuela inherited 13,000 square kilometres of Guyana’s territory (then under British rule).
The ICJ already found that it has the jurisdiction to hear the border controversy case and Guyana believes it will get a favourable ruling.