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Guyana reacts to Venezuela’s decision to suspend approval of ambassadorial nominee

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 September 2015, 1:59 by GxMedia

Foreign Affairs Minister, Vice President Carl Greenidge.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge Wednesday night said his country would continue to speak out against Venezuela’s illegal claim to Guyana’s Essequibo region and maritime space.

Greenidge made his position known a day after President Nicolas Maduro’s televised announcement that he had ordered the suspension of Georgetown’s application for Ambassador Cheryl Miles to be appointed Ambassador to Caracas.

“I regret President Maduro’s fondness for broadcast diplomacy which Guyana will not follow. Guyana will not be silent where its rights under law continue to be denied. The path of peace is the path of law, and Guyana will continue to pursue it,” said Greenidge in a brief comment.

Maduro cited offensive remarks recently made by Greenidge in the United States (US) as the main reason for withholding the approval of Guyana’s nominee to be Ambassador to that neighbouring oil-rich nation.

Greenidge did not refer directly to the Venezuelan government’s decision to put a brake on the approval of Miles to return to Caracas as Guyana’s top envoy there. Miles had previously served in that capacity under then Desmond Hoyte-led People’s National Congress (PNC) administration from 1985 to 1992.

Top government sources confirmed to Demerara Waves Online News Tuesday that Miles’ name has been submitted to Venezuela for approval to replace Geoffrey Da Silva. One source said that Guyana had not received any formal communication from Venezuela about its decision to temporarily halt the process.

Da Silva is among several Guyanese High Commissioners and Ambassadors, appointed by the then People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration, who have been recalled by the APNU+AFC coalition that won the May , 2015 general elections.

Venezuela’s hiatus in approving Ambassador Miles comes as the leaders of the two countries prepare to participate in the United Nations General Assembly this month. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had several weeks ago explored the possibility of meeting with Maduro and his Guyanese counterpart, David Granger on the margins of the General Assembly.

The UN has been playing a heightened role in the Guyana-Venezuela controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the land boundary between the two neighbouring South American countries.

After Venezuela in May issued  a decree unilaterally extending its maritime boundary into the Atlantic Sea off the Essequibo Region where an American oil company found a significant oil deposit, Guyana announced its decision to pull out of the UN Secretary General’s mediation ‘ Good Officer’ process because it has yielded no success during its 23 years of existence.

While President Maduro has been lobbying the UN Chief to retain mediation, Guyana has been pushing very hard for Ban to take the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, for resolution.

Guyana maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award is a full, final and perfect settlement of the boundary.

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September 2015