… 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.
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.
“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.
“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.