See full statement by Sir Shridath Ramphal on talks between the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela
December 11, 2023It is important that the limits of the talks in St Vincent and the Grenadines are understood.
False expectations should not be encouraged.
For decades, 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, namely:
1. That they ‘firmly support (s) Guyana in pursuance of the resolution of its border controversy with Venezuela through the process of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’.
2. That they ‘urge Venezuela to respect the conservatory measures determined by the ICJ in its recent ruling until a final resolution’.
3. That they reiterate (d) CARICOM’s ‘commitment to the Caribbean 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’.
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.
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.