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Canada concerned about Venezuela’s extension of maritime boundary

Last Updated on Monday, 11 January 2021, 19:31 by Denis Chabrol

Canada on Monday expressed  concerned about Venezuela’s decision to unilaterally extend its maritime boundary to include all of sea and submarine resources offshore the Essequibo Region

“Venezuela’s recent claim that it has sovereignty over the area adjacent to Guyana’s Essequibo coast is concerning,” the Canadian government said in a tweet.

Canada urged Venezuela to stick with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) process. “The decision is in the hands of the International Court of Justice and this judicial process must be respected,” Ottawa said.

Canada made known its position one day after the United States (US) issued a similar statement, following sharply on the heels of separate condemnations of President Nicolas Maduro’s decree by the President and the Opposition Leader of Guyana.

Mr. Maduro earlier this month issued a decree extending Venezuela’s maritime boundary over all of the sea space and underwater resources of the area offshore the Essequibo Region up to the eastern bank of thee Essequibo Region.

President Irfaan Ali has described the decree as a “legal nullity” and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon has pledged to offer support of any “reasonable” action that Guyana would take.

The bipartisan House Foreign Relations Committee met on Monday to receive a briefing by the Guyana government.

President Maduro has repeatedly said that his country does not respect the jurisdiction of the ICJ and has formally asked the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres to resume bilateral discussions for a negotiated settlement of the controversy over the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award. The ICJ has already ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear Guyana’s case and has added that even if a party does not participate in the proceedings, the decision is final and binding.

Venezuela does not respect that award.