Minister Greenidge confident in UN chief’s recommendation for Venezuela border controversy

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2016, 11:06 by Derwayne Wills

While the Guyana Government hoped for a resolution to the border controversy with Venezuela before UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon demitted office at the end of this year, Guyanese officials will settle for a 12-month application of the Good Offices process before the controversy is referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“It has been a year which we have been actively engaged in the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations to find a way forward with the border controversy,” Foreign Minister Greenidge reported to the National Assembly. “Guyana cooperated fully with Secretary General and made every effort to bring the proposals to fruition.”

Minister Greenidge told the House Venezuela did not do likewise thus frustrating the process facilitated by the UN Secretary General’s office.

On December 16, Minister Greenidge said, Guyana was informed by the UN boss that a decision was made on the way forward with the border controversy utilising Article 4 (2) of the 1966 Geneva Agreement which allowed for the Good Officers Process to occupy a 12 month period.

“If by the end of 2017, the Secretary General concludes significant progress has not been made,” Minister Greenidge said, “he will choose the International Court of Justice for settlement unless the governments of Guyana and Venezuela jointly request that he refrain from doing so.”

Greenidge said Guyana lost faith in the Good Offices process due to Venezuela’s non-cooperation, “but we are willing to give it one last try considering the SG’s nominee.” He was cautious, however, that the process will bring unsatisfactory results unless Venezuela cooperates.

“The new Secretary General will name a Personal Representative who will lead the Parties in this final year of “good offices,” Greenidge continued.

The UN chief, Ban Ki Moon, will be succeeded by Portuguese politician, Antonio Guterres after a recent UN election.

“Let us hope that with the Secretary General’s decision, the way ahead will follow the path he has identified and be freed of the impediment of aggression, economic and otherwise, that has hindered progress in the past,” Greenidge told the House.

“The ordinary people of Venezuela are our brothers and sisters and we look forward to working with them as good neighbours in the long years ahead,” he continued.