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– Attorney General
DPI – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, has said the Government views the recent statement by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro as an abrogation of international law and a violation of international practices.
The Attorney General made the comment while providing an update on the Guyana/Venezuela border matter to Trinidad and Tobago’s CCN Tv6, Fazeer Mohammed on Monday morning.
“We consider it an abrogation of international law. That piece of land has been under the territorial control and sovereignty of Guyana for the past 200 hundred years and has never left Guyana’s physical control. It has always been considered our territory internationally, under all conventions and all maps of the world show that Essequibo belongs to Guyana,” Nandlall said.
The Venezuelan President on January 7, 2021 issued a decree claiming sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights in the waters and seabed adjacent to Guyana’s coast, west of the Essequibo River.
The decree was made during the height of the current case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where Guyana has asked the court to uphold the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award which settled the frontier between the then British Guiana and Venezuela.
“We consider this a great act of aggression against our territory and we are taking it seriously as possible,” Nandlall said.
The Attorney General said Guyana has always taken a path of diplomacy in accordance with international rules and practices. The move to the United Nations and subsequently to the ICJ is testimony of this.
Following the new claims by Maduro, the Government sought and received support from the Region and further afield. It has received several statements, including from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the United States Government expressing support for Guyana’s position and its recourse to the ICJ to uphold the 1899 Award.
Nandlall said Guyana is confident that other international organisations like the OAS, and Commonwealth will, similarly, throw their support behind the country’s efforts to buttress its sovereignty with a juridical ruling.
“Venezuela has evinced a clear and settled train of actions that they are not prepared to abide by principles of democracy, the rule of law and abide by the international environment and law,” he said.
President Irfaan Ali had outrightly rejected Maduro’s decree as a “legal nullity which will not be recognised by any state in the world.”
The President said Guyana is resolute and confident that the ICJ would rule in its favour. The ICJ, on December 18, ruled it had jurisdiction to hear the case and rule upon the Arbitral Award, made on October 3rd, 1899, including its validity and legal consequence on both States. The Case Management for that matter comes up on Monday, January 25.