Pres Ali set to raise Venezuela’s threats at UN today

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 September 2023, 9:12 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali is Wednesday expected to voice concern at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) about Venezuela’s threat to block investors from taking up oil blocks offshore Guyana.

“The President will also highlight the recent statements and even threats made by Venezuela and bringing the UN General Assembly to it and, further, a number of bilaterals have also been planned with both countries and various other agencies on the recent statements by Venezuela,” Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud told Demerara Waves Online News.

In a statement issued early Wednesday morning, the Guyana government deemed Venezuela’s utterances a “threat” by stating that it will “apply all the necessary measures” to prevent operations licensed by Guyana in these waters, which Venezuela claims as its own.

“Guyana considers this a threat not only to Guyana but to regional and international peace and security, as well as to all of Guyana’s current and potential investment partners,” the Guyana government said.

The Guyana government says it has no doubt that under international law the waters in question form part of its Exclusive Economic Zone, where Guyana alone enjoys sovereign rights over the resources in the sea and beneath the seabed. “If Venezuela disputes this, then it is obliged by the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the OAS (Organisation of American States) to employ only peaceful means to seek a resolution. Both Charters prohibit the threat or use of force against another State,” the government added.

Guyana implored Venezuela to honor its obligation to pursue only peaceful means to settle any dispute it may have with Guyana, including adjudication before the International Court Justice, where Guyana has sought confirmation of the land boundary between the two States. “Allowing the Court to decide any other dispute between the parties would ensure a resolution that is peaceful, equitable and in accordance with international law,” government added.

The Guyana government and the opposition coalition have reaffirmed Guyana’s right to the development of its resources within its territory for its people.