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Commonwealth Ministerial Group urges full, proper respect of ICJ order – Kaieteur News

Kaieteur News – The Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Guyana (CMGG) has called for a full and proper respect for the provisional orders made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Guyana- Venezuela controversy.

In a statement the Commonwealth Secretariat said the CMGG convened an emergency meeting on 11 December 2023 called by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland at the request of the Government of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and in accordance with the mandate given by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1999 to monitor, “further developments in respect of the existing controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.”

The meeting was chaired by State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Md. Shahriar Alam, MP. At the meeting the Ministerial Group received an update from Hugh Hilton Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, presented by His Excellency Rajendra Singh, High Commissioner of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, on the heightened tensions between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Co-operative Republic of Guyana over the Essequibo region since the last CMGG meeting in September 2023.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Guyana has condemned threats by Venezuela

“The Group urged full and proper respect for the binding 1 December 2023 Order of Provisional Measures of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that states that “Pending a final decision in the case, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela shall refrain from taking any action which would modify the situation that currently prevails in the territory in dispute, whereby the Co- operative Republic of Guyana administers and exercises control over that area” and that, “Both Parties shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve.”

Additionally, the Group called for a de-escalation of the tensions between Venezuela and Guyana, respect for international law, the maintenance of peace, and the rejection of the use or threats of the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Guyana. “The Group rejected the recent actions of Venezuela that constitute a threat to Guyana’s sovereignty and a disregard of the 1 December 2023, Order of the ICJ. The Group reiterated its firm and steadfast support for the ICJ process underway as the appropriate and lawful means to address the matter under international law, the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana, its right to self-defence and the unobstructed exercise of its rights to develop the entirety of its territory for the benefit of its people,” the statement read.

The Group reaffirmed that the position of the Commonwealth since the Group was formed in 1999 has remained unchanged, and is as expressed in 2016, “The Group reiterated the unequivocal and collective support of Commonwealth member governments for the maintenance and preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial borders, in accordance with the 1899 Arbitral Award, which definitively settled the land boundary between the Co- operative Republic of Guyana and Venezuela,” the statement said.

The Group said it endorses without reservation the statements made by the Secretary-General in support of Guyana on 1 November 2023, and 1 December 2023. “The Group commended the Good Offices of the Secretary-General on behalf of the Commonwealth to engage its partners to support peace and stability in the Caribbean region and encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to use her Good Offices to support Guyana in upholding its territorial sovereignty and integrity. The Group also agreed to draw the conclusions of this meeting to the attention of all Commonwealth member governments.” Members of the Group, as constituted following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Durban in 1999, are Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Canada, Guyana, Jamaica, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the Private Sector Commission of Guyana said it is closely monitoring the recent developments concerning the threat by Venezuela to annex a part of Guyana. “We understand that these circumstances may raise concerns within the community, and we wish to reassure the public that every effort is being made to address the situation effectively. In light of these developments, we urge the general public to remain calm, vigilant, and resilient. It is of utmost importance that information is sourced from verified and credible sources to avoid the spread of misinformation,” the PSC said.

To the business community, “we emphasise that operations should continue as usual. We encourage business leaders and investors to maintain confidence in the strength of Guyana’s economy. The Private Sector Commission acknowledges the unity and resilience of the Guyanese people during challenging times. We believe that by staying informed, calm, and focused on our daily activities, we can collectively contribute to the stability and prosperity of our beloved country. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as necessary. Our thoughts are with all Guyanese as we navigate through these challenges together.”

Also adding its voice the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) said it stands firm with the Government and people of Guyana on the sovereignty of Guyana and the ownership of the Essequibo region. “The GGDMA joins with the Government and people of Guyana to mourn the loss of our brave soldiers and recommit our efforts towards Guyana.”

The association said it has noted with concern the recent utterings from the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in relation to the state of Venezuela administering over the rights of all natural resources contained within the Essequibo region. “The GGDMA wishes to make it clear that the Government of Guyana and its agencies are the SOLE and ONLY entities legally empowered to administer over the land and mineral rights contained within this territory.  The Essequibo region is firmly part of Guyana. Miners of Guyana will continue to give these entities due regard and comply with their instructions as we continue to work towards the sustained prosperity of Guyana. The GGDMA stands firm with the Government of Guyana and the country of our birth. We will not bend to the rantings of a foreign dictator. We will continue to rally our members in support of efforts to safeguard our sovereignty,” the miners’ body said.

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