An eleven-point declaration was arrived at last night following discussions between the leaders of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in relation to the border dispute over the Essequibo region.
As reported in the document, Presidents Irfaan Ali of Guyana and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela agreed to maintaining the Latin America and Caribbean region as a zone of peace and they have agreed to directly or indirectly not threaten or use force against each other under any circumstances.
The meeting, organized and facilitated by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and CARICOM and took place at the Argyle International Airport for talks between the leaders of Guyana and Venezuela and CARICOM on matters relating to the ongoing border dispute.
Three rounds of discussions were held at the daylong event between CARICOM and Guyana, CARICOM and Venezuela and Guyana and Venezuela,
Included in the document and among the agreements both leaders arrived at included the resolution of controversies in accordance with international law, including the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966.
Presidents Ali and Maduro declared that they remain committed to the pursuance of good neighborliness, peaceful coexistence and the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.
And Guyana asserted its commitment to the process and procedures of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
However, Venezuela asserted its “lack of consent and lack of recognition of the International Court of Justice and it’s jurisdiction in the border controversy.”
But they have agreed to continue dialogue on other matters of mutual importance to the two countries, the declaration stated.
In keeping with their agreement to maintaining peace within the region, Presidents Ali and Maduro further agreed that both States will refrain from escalating any conflict or disagreement arising from any controversy between them.
“The two states will cooperate to avoid incidents on the ground conducive to tension between them,” according to the declaration issued.
“In the event of such an incident, the two States will immediately communicate with one another, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC) and the President of Brazil to contain, reverse and prevent its recurrence,” the declaration continued.
Going forward, both leaders have agreed to the establishment of a joint commission of the Foreign Ministers and technical persons from the two States to address matters as mutually agreed.
And this country’s Prime Minister, Prime Minister Skerrit – the incumbent CARICOM Chairman and the President of Brazil will remain seized on the matter as Interlocutors and that the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres as observer.
A follow-up meeting in Brazil three months from now has been agreed to, or at another time to consider any matter that may have implications for the territory in dispute.
Present at the meeting included some high officials H.E Celso Amorim, Special Advisor and Personal Envoy of the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and a number of observers including Earle Courtenay Rattray, Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Miroslav Jenca – Under-Secretary General of the UN’s Department of Political ND Peacebuilding Affairs, H.E Alvaro Leyva Duran – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia and Gerardo Torres Zelaya, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Honduras.
A number of CARICOM leaders were also present including Prime Minister of Dominica and Chair of CARICOM, Roosevelt Skerrit, Mia Mottley – Prime Minister of Barbados, Dickon Mitchell of Grenada, and Dr Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago.