Venezuela Border Controversy: CARICOM renews “solid support” for Guyana’s sovereignty

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Caribbean Leaders at the opening of the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Georgetown

The Caribbean Community has reiterated its support for Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the ongoing border controversy with neighbouring Venezuela.

During the recently concluded CARICOM Heads of Government Conference held in Georgetown, regional leaders received an update on developments in Guyana/Venezuela relations.

In a statement on Friday, the CARICOM Secretariat said “They reaffirmed their solid support for the maintenance and preservation of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Venezuela continues to lay claim to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass, the Essequibo, and a portion of its exclusive economic zone in which almost 11 billion barrels of oil have been discovered over the past eight years, and in which oil production activities are ongoing.

In 2018, Guyana moved to the International Court of Justice, seeking a final and binding ruling on the October 3, 1899, Arbitral Award to settle the longstanding border controversy.

Following heightened tensions between the two countries late last year, a historic face-to-face Caricom/ CELAC/Brazil-brokered meeting was facilitated on December 14, 2023, between Presidents Dr Irfaan Ali and Nicolás Maduro in St Vincent and the Grenadines, geared towards maintaining peace in the region.

The CARICOM Secretariat said while they decried the significant Venezuelan military activity at the border, they noted a lowering of tensions since the Joint Declaration of Argyle for Dialogue and Peace between Guyana and Venezuela, was issued in December.

The Regional Leaders also welcomed the convening of the first meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Guyana and Venezuela and their technical teams in Brasilia on January 25, 2024, as a positive step to rebuilding cooperation between the two countries, while the ICJ determines the land boundary.

CARICOM Heads also urged Venezuela to submit its counter-memorial on the merits of the case regarding the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award, which it has to do by April 8, 2024.