Last updated Sunday, 10 January 2021, 21:45 by Denis Chabrol
The United States (US) on Sunday approved the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela, in the face of calls by President Nicolas Maduro to resume bilateral talks as a means of settlement.
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau of the US State Department, Michael Kozak said his country supports the ICJ’s 12-18 ruling that it has jurisdiction over the Guyana-Venezuela border issue. Mr Kozak added, “is the legal and peaceful way forward.”
“Maduro’s aggressive allegations do not change this, they simply disregard his neighbors and show international law to the world,” said a chief of the State Department’s tweet in a tweet on Sunday night re-posted by the American embassy in Guyana.
The American Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, reaffirmed for her part, her country’s position that the border dispute should be legally settled. “The United States has long called for a peaceful legal decision to debate Guyana’s border with Venezuela and we reiterate that call today,” he said.
The United States stance came against the backdrop of President Maduro’s decree to unilaterally extend its maritime border to include Atlantic waters and the seabed in the Essequibo Region up to the east bank of the Essequibo River.
President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon have separately condemned Mr Maduro’s decree.
The Venezuelan President last week asked United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres to facilitate the resumption of bilateral dialogue with Guyana as a way to settle the border debate.
Mr Maduro, in his letter to the UN Secretary-General, said he had the ability to revive dialogue as a way to avoid decisions outside international legitimacy, which can seriously endanger the region’s peace and security.
The ICJ has made it clear that lack of party involvement in a case does not affect the decision and is binding on both parties.