– as Guyana’s Foreign Minister strongly opposes Venezuela’s new allegations

Guyana’s bi-partisan Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Relations met on Monday, where members were briefed by the Government on Venezuela’s latest decree that unreasonably claimed Guyana’s Essequibo region and maritime space.

Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee briefed by Foreign Minister Hugh Todd

The Foreign Relations Committee, made up of members of both sides of the political divide, met in the National Assembly’s committee room. During the meeting, the Committee’s Vice Chairman and Minister for Foreign Affairs Hugh Todd briefed members on Venezuela’s recent decree.
Members of the committee include Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Kwame McCoy, Minister in the Housing Ministry Susan Rodrigues and MPs Jennifer Westford, Bhagmattie Veerasammy, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, Ronald Cox and Devin Sears.
Apart from the regular members of the Foreign Committee, which is chaired by MP Raphael Trotman, Prime Minister Mark Phillips and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Gail Teixeira attended Monday’s meeting. According to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, Todd briefed the committee members and also answered several questions.
The Ministry noted that the Committee was unanimous in denying Venezuela’s actions. The need for continued vigilance to protect Guyana territory was also reiterated.
“The Committee showed unanimity in the strong condemnation of the implementation of any law by Venezuela with extraterrestrial application in violation of international law and Guyana rights. The Committee further reiterated national sentiments for continued vigilance in protecting Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, ”the Ministry said in its statement.

This announcement had previously reported that Minister Todd had called a Venezuelan mission head in Guyana to a meeting. In addition to his engagement with the Foreign Relations Committee on Monday, Minister Todd met with Chargé d’A Affaires, Embassy of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela, Moses Chavez, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
During the meeting, Minister Todd registered the strong opposition of the Government of Guyana over emerging events in Caracas related to Venezuela’s attempts to take jurisdiction over marine and terrestrial areas, based entirely on unilateral action without due regard to international law and the Guyana rights.
“The Honorable Hugh Todd, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, today met with Moses Chavez, Chargé d’A Affaires, Embassy of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela to register the strong opposition of the Guyana Government over developing events in Caracas related to Venezuela’s efforts to seize jurisdiction over marine and submarine areas, based solely on unilateral action without due regard to international law and Guyana rights, ”the statement said.
Last Thursday, Maduro issued a presidential decree reinforcing his country’s illegal assertion of Guyana’s Essequibo region. In addition, the Venezuelan President announced that he had written to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres, to lead direct negotiations between the two countries, rather than the binding ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
That option has been exhausted, however, as the United Nations has sought to mediate negotiations between Guyana and Venezuela for years as part of an ultimately futile good office process until Guyana activates its right to take Venezuela to the ICJ in 2018 for a final ruling on the border issue.

In the wake of the Maduro decree, condemnation has flowed from President Dr Irfaan Ali, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and even the United States (US).
In a special address to the nation last Saturday, President Ali had completely rejected this new assertion from Venezuela, calling it “legally void” that will not be recognized by Guyana or any State in the world.
According to Ali, Guyana has chosen to resolve the issue within international law. He, therefore, described the Maduro Government’s latest statements as “very upsetting” but made clear that they would not prevent Guyana from seeking a final binding decision in the ICJ.
In a statement issued Sunday, meanwhile, Harmon announced that he is joining all right-thinking Guyanese in rejecting Venezuela’s “false allegations” of Essequibo and also affirming Guyana’s defense of its sovereignty.
That same day, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch reiterated the need for a peaceful resolution of the Guyana border debate. He also shared a post from the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Bureau of Western Affairs, Michael Kozak, where he condemned Maduro’s decree.
In his tweet, Ambassador Kozak reiterated that the United States supports the ICJ’s December 18, 2020 ruling that it has jurisdiction over Guyana-Venezuela territorial border disputes, which he claimed is the “legal and peaceful way forward.”

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