Statement by the Secretary-General of the OACPS on the recent developments in the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy
Brussels, 29 January 2021/OACPS: Further to the Statement of 25 January 2021 on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, the Secretary-General of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti recalls the Declaration of the 8th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government of the ACP Group of States of June 1, 2016, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, wherein the Heads noted with concern the adverse impact of the controversy and the escalating territorial and maritime claims on Guyana’s development, as well as on the welfare and well-being of its people. In the interest of maintaining regional peace and stability, the Heads also called on all parties to support, in good faith, the commendable efforts of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General to resolve the controversy within the confines of international law in keeping with his responsibilities and the principles set out and agreed by all signatories to the 1966 Geneva Agreement.
H.E. Chikoti draws attention to the decision of the UN Secretary-General to refer the controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the process ensuing from the subsequent application by Guyana to have the ICJ determine the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award. In this regard, the Court decided on December 18, 2020 that it had jurisdiction to entertain Guyana’s claims concerning the validity of the 1899 Award about the frontier between then British Guiana and Venezuela and the related question of the definitive settlement of the dispute regarding the land boundary between the territories of the Parties.
H.E. Chikoti is alarmed by Venezuela’s rejection of the Court’s decision, despite its stated commitment to the 1966 Geneva Agreement. Furthermore, the Secretary-General notes with regret, the reports of the recent military action taken by Venezuela to seize and detain two Guyanese fishing vessels and their crews.
The Members of the OACPS reaffirm unequivocal support for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, international law, the sanctity of international treaties as well as peaceful and lawful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes. On behalf of the OACPS, the Secretary-General reiterates his invitation to both parties to prioritise the settlement of the issues in a peaceful manner, with respect for international law and urges restraint from further military action.