New UN envoy to help settle Venezuela-Guyana border dispute

Create: 03/03/2017 - 07:11

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — Guyana has welcomed the appointment of Dag Halvor Nylander of Norway as the new envoy who will try to resolve the Caribbean Community (Caricom) country’s ongoing border dispute with Venezuela.

“We welcome the appointment. We feel it’s a positive move. We are confident that the appointee can do his job and we will abide by the Terms of Reference and the conditions that have been laid down by the United Nations’ secretary general,” President David Granger said yesterday.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was also prepared to turn to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the issue.

Earlier this month, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Nylander was appointed to help broker a settlement “until the end of 2017, with a strengthened mandate of mediation”.

 
He said that if no progress is made toward a settlement by the end of 2017, Guterres “will choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement unless the governments of Guyana and Venezuela jointly request that he refrain from doing so”.
 
Last December, Guyana welcomed the position of then outgoing United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that its border dispute with Venezuela be subjected to at least one more year of mediation.

Granger said that Guyana will continue to engage the UN through confidence building measures, while it will do whatever is possible to move the process along to enable the secretary general to make a decision about the juridical course of action requested by Guyana.

President Granger said that Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge made a presentation at a ministerial conference held earlier this week on the impact that the territorial controversy has had on investments in Guyana.

“The threats that we have experienced over the years to our territorial integrity have been a disincentive for foreign investors. We believe that the UN taking a stand is an indication that the matter will be brought to some form of closure by the end of this year, and we expect that things will be better for Guyanese investment,” the president said.

Last December, the outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said 50 years ago, shortly before Guyana’s Independence in 1966, the Geneva Agreement was signed with the aim of amicably resolving the controversy that had arisen as a result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 is null and void.

He said the 1966 Geneva Agreement confers on the secretary general of the United Nations the power to choose means of settlement of the controversy from among those that are contemplated in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter.

“Within the framework of the Geneva Agreement, a Good Offices Process under the secretary general has been in place for the last 25 years in order to find a solution to the controversy. This process has so far involved three personal representatives of the secretary general. In spite of these efforts, it has not been possible to bridge the differences between the parties.”

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