The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna has urged Venezuela to refrain from any unilateral action, and reiterated France’s commitment to the principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes, including recourse to the International Court of Justice.
On Tuesday, President Dr Irfaan Ali spoke with Colonna about recent developments in the border controversy between Venezuela and Guyana.
A post on President Ali’s social media page stated that Colonna spoke of France’s position that Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
President Ali is expected to meet with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
According to Ali, all stakeholders were consulted before the offer to meet with Maduro was accepted, adding that a condition of acceptance was that the border case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be non-negotiable.
Esteemed diplomat Sir Shridath Ramphal had made it clear that false expectations should not be encouraged ahead of talks between the two leaders.
In a missive on Monday, he reinforced that these talks could go a far way towards preserving regional peace.
Ramphal lauded the role played by Caricom in arranging the talks and noted that once they were approached in good faith by Maduro himself, then regional peace and security would be maintained.
At the same time, Ramphal stressed that false expectations, particularly on the Venezuelan side, must not be encouraged. He noted that there must be no discussions on the Venezuelan controversy over the Essequibo region, which is currently sub judice before the ICJ.
Ramphal reminded that President Ali only agreed to the discussions within the parameters of “appropriate dialogue” with Maduro.
The senior diplomat, who is Guyana’s co-agent in the case before ICJ, further urged Guyanese to support President Ali’s efforts at securing peace.
Over the weekend, a decision to hold talks between the two nations came about following an emergency meeting of Caricom Heads of Government. Presidents Ali and Maduro will meet in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday, but the Guyanese leader related that Guyana’s land boundary was not up for discussion as the border case lay before the World Court.
The Guyanese Head of State gave his approval for the meeting after he was contacted by leaders from the Community of States of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC); the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the United Nations Under-Secretary General.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves were integral behind this move, as they wrote a letter to Presidents Ali and Maduro.