Sir Shridath warns about ‘false expectations’ at Guyana, Venezuela talks
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Former Commonwealth secretary general, Sir Shridath Ramphal, Monday said “false expectations should not be encouraged” in the talks on Thursday between President Dr Irfaan Ali and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro over the disputed Essequibo region.
The talks will take place in St Vincent and the Grenadines at 10:00 am. Sir Shridath, the co-agent of Guyana before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), said that it is important that the limits of the talks in Kingstown are understood.
He said for decades, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) has been “the most vocal and consistent supporter of Guyana with regard to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.
“Never was that support more evident than when its Heads of Government held an emergency meeting in that context on 8 December 2023. They did not falter. Caricom heads repeated where they stood on the most critical aspects of the current situation,” he said.
Sir Shridath noted that the regional leaders “firmly” supported Guyana in pursuance of the resolution of its border controversy with Venezuela, through the process of the ICJ and that they urged Venezuela to respect the conservatory measures determined by the ICJ in its recent ruling until a final resolution.
He also noted that the regional leaders reiterated that the Caribbean should be regarded as a ‘Zone of Peace’ and the maintenance of international law.
“It is in that context, and with perfect awareness that the Guyana-Venezuela matter is under consideration by the ICJ and that the court’s proceedings cannot be compromised, that Caricom heads have called for an ‘appropriate’ dialogue between the leaders of Guyana and Venezuela to ensure ‘peaceful co-existence’, ‘the application and respect for international law’, and ‘the avoidance of the use or threats of force,” Sir Shridath said.
He said that there “was no call for any discussion on the Venezuelan controversy over the Essequibo region of Guyana.
“It is within those parameters that Guyana’s president has responded positively to the region’s call for an ‘appropriate’ dialogue with Venezuela’s president. Guyana has always urged Venezuela in the direction of peaceful coexistence. All Guyanese should bolster President Ali’s efforts in this regard,” the former Guyana attorney general said.
Sir Shridath said that “if President Maduro responds in like manner, Caricom’s efforts will have the reward of deference to not only regional but international norms of peace and security”.
On Sunday, President Ali said his meeting on Thursday with Maduro would be confined to discussing the need for peace and respect for international law despite their ongoing border dispute.