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Ambassador key to Guyana-Venezuela bilateral talks; Guyana to press on with UN process with or without envoy

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon (UN file photo)

Foreign Minister, Carl Greenidge on Thursday indicated that his country would continue to rely on  United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon to find the best way to settle the border controversy with Venezuela even if that country refuses to approval Guyana’s nominee for the post of Ambassador.

“Whatever actions Venezuela takes in relation to Ambassadors, we remain ready to adhere to the Geneva Agreement and we rely on the Secretary General to make his decision as to the means of settlement of the controversy as defined in the Geneva Agreement,” Greenidge said in a statement. Guyana wants Ban to refer the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award to be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for settlement.

Greenidge, however, said the appointment of an Ambassador was critical to Guyana holding talks on bilateral issues. “Guyana, of course, remains ready to have dialogue with Venezuela on matters affecting our bilateral relations and we see the exchanging of Ambassadors as being an important part of promoting such dialogue. Notwithstanding announced actions by President Maduro in this regard, we are prepared to carry on these discussions,” he said.

Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday ann0unced on television that he has instructed his Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez to suspend the processing of a Guyana’s request to grant approval for Cheryl Miles to be appointed Ambassador to Caracas.

Maduro has cited recent remarks by Greenidge in the United States (US) as the major reason for temporarily withholding approval of Miles.

But the Guyanese Foreign Minister maintained on Thursday that is remarks in Florida about Guyana’s position on the border controversy were nothing new and were a reaction to Maduro’s unilateral extension of its land and maritime boundaries into the Essequibo Region- in clear violation of the Geneva Agreement.  “As regards my statement in Florida, let me make it clear, Guyana has a right to speak on matters affecting it….I was invited to Miami and what I said there differed in no way from what I said before, either in Miami or elsewhere, in defence of Guyana’s rights or in respect of Guyana’s position as regards the Venezuelan claim to Guyana’s territory and Venezuela’s actions.”

Greenidge stopped very short of accusing Maduro of bullying Guyana into silence. “By his outbursts each time we speak in defence of our rights President Maduro comes perilously close to revealing a belief that uniquely, as a nation and as a people, we have no right, either to speak or to state our views on any matter affecting our well-being. On this aspect I say no more,” said the Foreign Minister.