– expresses concern over Venezuela’s latest decree
In light of Venezuela’s recent claims to the seas and seabed off the coast west of the Guyana-owned Essequibo River, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has reiterated its strong and unwavering support for the and preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity. of his sister nation, Guyana.
A recent decree and subsequent statements by Venezuela regarding that country’s border dispute with Guyana, have deeply disappointed CARICOM and caused concern among member states as this regional bloc holds the view that Guyana’s sovereignty must be respected and preserved.
Venezuela’s President, Nicolás Maduro, on January 7, 2021, issued a decree asserting Venezuela’s sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights in the waters and seabed off the coast of Guyana, west of the Essequibo River.
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is very disappointed and concerned about Venezuela’s decree and subsequent declarations in relation to that country’s border dispute with Guyana, including suggestions of creating a strategic area of national development called Territory for Atlantic Ocean Development. Façade, ”the regional bloc said in a statement on Tuesday.
Based on reports originating in Venezuela, the decree highlights the creation of a strategic zone for national development called the “Atlantic Surface Development Territory”, which the Bolivian Republic envisages will provide adequate protection and preserving its jurisdiction.
However, as Guyana has sovereign rights over the coast west of the Essequibo River, as far as Punta Playa, it follows that, as a result, only Guyana can enjoy sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights over the sea and bed the surrounding sea.
This is exactly the issue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which the ICJ decided, on December 18, 2020, to resolve, ie, whether Guyana or Venezuela have sovereignty over that territory.
It was reported that Guyana is confident that the international court will resolve the matter in its favor, and that this will also settle the issue of maritime rights in the adjacent sea and seabed. However, under international law, it is now for the ICJ to decide.
This judicial process is one that CARICOM supports, as the regional bloc believes it is intended to bring a peaceful and definitive end to the longstanding debate between the two countries.
Although CARICOM supported the ongoing judicial process, it was bellucid that any acts of aggression by Venezuela against Guyana will be dismissed.
Canada and the United States of America (US) have also called on Venezuela to respect this judicial process.
The Canadian High Commission, in a statement posted on its Facebook page on Monday, noted Venezuela’s recent assertion that it had sovereignty over the area near Guyana’s Essequibo coast.
“The decision is in the hands of the International Court of Justice, and this judicial process must be respected,” said the High Commission.
Assistant Secretary (ag) of the US Department of State’s Western Hemisphere Affairs Office, Michael Kozak, said last Sunday that the United States supports the ICJ’s ruling that it has jurisdiction over Guyana’s territorial border issue, Venezuela, which is legal and peaceful. way forward.
“Maduro’s aggressive allegations do not change this; they just disregard their neighbors and show international law to the world, ”Kozak asserted in a post on his official Twitter page.
The United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, also reiterated the North American country’s call for a legal, peaceful resolution to the border dispute.
1899 ARBITRAL AWARD
“I am reminded that Guyana (then British Guiana) was awarded sovereignty over this coast, and the land territory to which it is attached, in the 1899 Arbitration Award, whose authenticity and character legally binding Guyana with confidence in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) holding unequivocally, ”confirmed the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali in a speech to the nation on Saturday.
He said that unfortunately by ruling that the seas adjacent to this territory belong to Venezuela, at least two basic principles of international law have been violated.
In the first offensive, as outlined by President Ali, no State can unilaterally set its international borders, whether land or maritime.
President Ali argued that the imposition of an international border under international law can only result from an agreement between neighboring States, or a binding decision of an international court or arbitral tribunal.
“Therefore, this attempt by Venezuela to seek, unilaterally, to repair its land and maritime borders with Guyana is legally void, which cannot, and will not, be respected by any other State in the world, including Guyana, ”the Headmaster. The State was confirmed.
The second fundamental international law offense referred to by President Ali is based on the fact that, under the established rules of international law, there is a fundamental principle that says, “the land dominates the sea”.
This means that sovereignty, and sovereign rights in the sea and the seabed derive from title to the land that forms the coast to which that seas and bed lie.