… Guyana conveys diplomatic rejection of Maduro’s decree – President Irfaan Ali
… Warning community of Venezuela’s threat to peace and security

Days before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) held a case management hearing on Guyana’s bid for a final and binding settlement of the border debate with Venezuela, the Nicholas Maduro Government on January 7, 2021, issued a new decree to claim for it itself, land and seabed west of the Essequibo Coast.

President Irfaan Ali

In a special address to the nation on Saturday afternoon, President Dr Irfaan Ali vehemently 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 always 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.
“It is of great concern to me that, on January 7, the President of Venezuela issued a decree claiming the sovereignty of Venezuela a unique sovereign right to the waters and seabed off the coast of Guyana west of the Essequibo River,” said Ali.

Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro

“I am reminded that Guyana, then British Guiana, was awarded sovereignty over this coast and the land to which it is attached in the 1899 Arbitration Award, whose authenticity Guyana is confident will be maintained by the ICJ. unequivocally. ”
Ali explained that Venezuela’s decree violates the basic principles of international law, including the fact that no nation can unilaterally set its own borders, except by agreement with its neighbors or a ruling by the international court.
“A second fundamental international law offense is based on the fact that, under the established rules of international law, there is a fundamental principle that” 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. “
“As Guyana is sovereign 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 surrounding sea and the bed of the sea, ”explained President Ali.

The President expressed confidence that the ICJ will eventually settle not only the land dispute in favor of Guyana but also the maritime space. According to him, Venezuela will have no choice but to accept the ruling, whether or not it is involved in the border case.

International Court of Justice

“The United Nations Charter obliges all Member States to comply with their obligations under international law, including as determined by the ICJ. In this respect, Venezuela does not have the ‘right’ to ‘reject’ the court’s binding decision. What’s more, its legal advisers would know that to do so, breaches its legal obligations, and neither the ICJ, the United Nations nor any other body that maintains international law, norms and norms practices, accept it. ”
“As President of Guyana, I express the hope that the Venezuelan Government will reconsider its position and decide to take part in the rest of the case before the ICJ, as the court decides on the validity and binding character of the 1899 Arbitration Award and he created an international border, ”said the President.
But Ali noted that even if Venezuela chooses to boycott the ICJ case, this will not prevent or delay the case. According to him, the court rules ensure that the absence of one party does not prevent the case from being decided.

International community
Over the last few years, Venezuela has become increasingly isolated as Maduro maintains his power despite elections that denied the international community such as fraudulent, international sanctions and overwhelming economic stagnation.
In his address to the nation, Ali called the attention of the international community to the decree of the Venezuelan President. According to him, Venezuela’s continuing unjust claims to Essequibo pose a danger to international peace and security.
“We are warning the international community, including our sister States of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the Americas, of the danger to international peace and security that is being threatened by Venezuela’s decree last Thursday that n violates the basic principles of international law. ”
“My fellow citizens, we will continue our bipartisan and national approach to this issue, ensuring that the right and the law are on our side. Please ensure that my Government – and I personally – continue to keep you informed as any further developments take place in this matter, ”said Ali.
The President also revealed that he had instructed Foreign Minister Hugh Todd to summon the Head of the Venezuela Mission in Guyana, to the Foreign Ministry. According to Ali, the Head of Mission has been made aware of Guyana’s concerns with the Maduro decree and that he has completely rejected Venezuela’s renewed allegations to Essequibo.
“The Officer in Charge was told to convey to the Venezuelan authorities in Caracas, that Guyana, in accordance with international law, and his assertion of his sovereignty and territorial integrity, completely reject the decree issued by President Maduro . ”
“Guyana will continue on the path of peaceful resolution of this matter in accordance with international law and the jurisdiction of the ICJ. We urge our neighbor Venezuela to do the same, ”explains Ali.
Meanwhile, this announcement contacted Minister Todd, who revealed that he had had a conversation with the Head of Mission, Ambassador Luis Edgardo Diaz Monclus, and will have further face-to-face discussion with the Head of Mission on Monday .
And while President Ali expressed hope of bipartisan unity on the issue, this announcement failed to contact Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon for comment and no statement was issued by his party until press time. When contacted, the Secretary General of the National People’s Congress (PNC) Amna Ally declined to comment.
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 ICJ’s binding ruling.
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. (G3)

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