Minister Todd updates National Assembly on oral hearings of the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy case

Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hugh Todd provided an update to the National Assembly on the recently concluded oral hearings between Guyana and Venezuela at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands.

During his response to a question during the 51st sitting of the National Assembly on Wednesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Minister Todd highlighted that on November 22, the court heard Guyana’s closing arguments regarding Venezuela’s initial challenges to the legality of the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd during his presentation in the National Assembly

The essence of Venezuela’s objection is that the court should not exercise the jurisdiction to entertain Guyana’s claims.

The minister said Venezuela contended that the United Kingdom is an indispensable third party to the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy case, which should not be allowed to proceed in its absence.

Venezuela’s claim that the 1899 Arbitral Award, which established the border between then British Guiana and Venezuela, is void, is at the center of the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. In response to Venezuela’s 1962 claim, the Geneva Agreement of 1966 set forth the strategies to settle the territorial dispute.

“Guyana argued that the United Kingdom is not indispensable because it has no legal interest that would be affected by a judgement on the validity of the Arbitral Award on October 3rd, 1899 which fixed the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela or any interests in the boundary itself,” Minister Todd underlined.

Guyana demonstrated that Venezuela’s preliminary objections are legally unsupportable and entirely without foundation.

Guyana is confident that its arguments will prevail and that the court will reject Venezuela’s objections and advance the case to the merits case, he underlined.

“The court will deliberate on the issue over the coming months. A decision is expected by Spring of 2023,” Minister Todd added.

The controversy over the border between Guyana and Venezuela began when Venezuela claimed that the 1899 Arbitral Award was invalid. Guyana is currently seeking a decision from the ICJ to uphold the 1899 Arbitral Award.

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