The first meeting of the Joint Commission, as envisioned by the Joint Declaration of Argyle for Dialogue and Peace, agreed to following the meeting of the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela on December 14, 2023, will be held in Brasilia, Brazil on January 25, 2024.
The meeting will be attended by the Foreign Ministers and technical persons of both countries, and its main aim would be addressing matters, “as mutually agreed”.
Guyana remains fully committed to the principles of the Argyle Declaration, in particular the maintenance of peace in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Guyana Delegation will be led by Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Hilton Todd; Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud; Permanent Secretary Ambassador Elisabeth Harper; Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Richard Van West-Charles; Director of the Frontiers Department, Donnette Streete; and Chargé d’Affaires of the Guyana Embassy in Brazil, Vernon Robinson.
In December 2023, President Dr Irfaan Ali and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro held discussions on matters consequential to the territory in dispute between their two countries in Argyle, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Those discussions were facilitated by the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Pro-Tempore President of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, and the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Roosevelt Skerrit.
Following the meeting, the parties reiterated their commitment to Latin America and the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace. Guyana and Venezuela declared as follows:
1. Agreed that Guyana and Venezuela, directly or indirectly, will not threaten or use force against one another in any circumstances, including those consequential to any existing controversies between the two States.
2. Agreed that any controversies between the two States would be resolved in accordance with international law, including the Geneva Agreement dated February 17, 1966.
3. Committed to the pursuance of good neighbourliness, peaceful coexistence, and the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.
4. Noted Guyana’s assertion that it is committed to the process and procedures of the International Court of Justice for the resolution of the border controversy. Noted Venezuela’s assertion of its lack of consent and lack of recognition of the International Court of Justice and its jurisdiction in the border controversy.
5. Agreed to continue dialogue on any other pending matters of mutual importance to the two countries.
6. Agreed that both States would refrain, whether by words or deeds, from escalating any conflict or disagreement arising from any controversy between them. The two States will cooperate to avoid incidents on the ground conducive to tension between them. In the event of such an incident, the two States would immediately communicate with one another, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC), and the President of Brazil to contain, reverse and prevent its recurrence.
7. Agreed to establish immediately a joint commission of the Foreign Ministers and technical persons from the two States to address matters as mutually agreed. An update from this joint commission will be submitted to the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela within three months.
8. Both States agreed that Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves, the Pro-Tempore President of CELAC; Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, the incumbent CARICOM Chairman, and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil will remain seized of the matter as Interlocutors, and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as Observer, with the ongoing concurrence of Presidents Irfaan Ali and Nicolas Maduro. For the avoidance of doubt, Prime Minister Gonsalves’s role will continue even after Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ceases to be the Pro-Tempore President of CELAC within the framework of the CELAC Troika plus one; and Prime Minister Skerrit’s role will continue as a member of the CARICOM Bureau.
9. Both States agreed to meet again in Brazil within the next three months, or at another agreed time, to consider any matter with implications for the territory in dispute, including the above-mentioned update of the joint commission.
10. We express our appreciation to Prime Ministers Gonsalves and Skerrit, to President Lula and his Personal Envoy Celso Amorim, to all other CARICOM Prime Ministers present, to the officials of the CARICOM Secretariat, to the CELAC Troika, and to the Head of the CELAC PTP Secretariat in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, His Excellency Dr. Douglas Slater, for their respective roles in making this meeting a success.
11. We express our appreciation to the Government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for their kind facilitation and hospitality at this meeting.