Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2016, 21:29 by Denis Chabrol
Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday told top United Nations (UN) officials on a visit to Caracas that his country was keen on finding a resolution to the border controversy with Guyana.
Before meeting with UN Assistant Secretary General on Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenca, the Venezuelan leader was quoted by sections of the media there as saying on television that wanted to use provisions of the 50-year old Geneva Agreement to end the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that has awarded the Essequibo Region to Guyana.
“We thank the Secretary-General has opened floodgates for these issues go channeled via the Geneva agreement,” Maduro said at the meeting with the special envoys of the United Nations (UN), Miroslav Jenca and Guillermo Kendall at the presidential palace of Miraflores.
The Venezuelan leader said Tuesday that the visit by the UN delegation seeks a solution “through dialogue” and “peace diplomacy” to “find formulas” under the Geneva Agreement “. “We say, Guyana Essequibo is Venezuelan, but say in the same way (that) the Geneva Accord is the one that should lead to a practical arrangement satisfactory to the parties and by way of diplomacy,” Maduro said in a televised speech.
Weary that the UN Good Officer mediation process has yielded no solution to the controversy, Guyana is pushing for the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon to use provisions of the Geneva Agreement to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) also called the World Court.
Border tensions flared last year May after American oil giant, Exxon-Mobil, announced the discovery of a huge oil reservoir in the Atlantic Sea offshore Essequibo.
Following up on formal warnings to the company prior to the announced discovery that oil exploration should cease, Venezuela retaliated by unilaterally annexing the Atlantic waters off the Essequibo Region.
The 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) has condemned Venezuela’s re-drawing of its maritime boundary by way of a presidential decree, saying that such a move will have serious implications for several Caribbean islands as well as Suriname and French Guiana.
Exxon-Mobil is currently taking steps to quantify the reserves before deciding whether to embark on commercial production by 2018.