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Guyana and Venezuela officials meet in US to discuss border issues

Sunday, October 29, 2017

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyanese and Venezuelan officials met in the United States on Saturday at the start of two days of deliberations on the border dispute between them, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana.

It said that Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, is leading the local team to the meeting organised by the Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Border Controversy between Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Dag Halvor Nylander.

The statement said the meeting is as part of the fulfillment of his mandate under the Good Offices Process, with the strengthened aspect of mediation, to “actively engage with the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela with a view to exploring and proposing options for a solution to the border controversy between the two countries”.

Venezuela contends that the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899 demarcating the border between Guyana (British Guiana at the time) and Venezuela is null and void. Consequently, it continues to lay claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.

In 2015, the Guyana government requested the United Nations Secretary-General to take steps toward a resolution of the controversy using an option from the menu as stated in the Geneva Agreement of 17 February 1966.

Further, last year, as a consequence of a stalemate on the matter, outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon agreed with his successor, António Guterres, to continue to use the Good Offices Process until the end of 2017 as a means of arriving at a settlement.

According to the mandate of the Personal Representative, “If, by the end of 2017, the Secretary-General concludes that no significant progress has been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy, he will choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement, unless the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela jointly request that he refrain from doing so.”

The government statement said that since his appointment on 27 February this year, Nylander has visited Guyana on four occasions holding talks with President David Granger and Greenidge, among others.

In September, the Guyana delegation to the United Nations General Assembly met with the Secretary-General as well as Nylander and held informal discussions with Venezuelan counterparts.

The present Good Offices Process has been conducted since 1990.

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