UK affirms unwavering support for Guyana’s sovereignty

The United Kingdom (UK) has firmly stated its strong support for Guyana’s sovereignty, amidst Venezuela’s announcement to annex two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.

Speaking on an international television programme recently, UK Foreign Secretary Dave Cameron definitively stated that the 1899 Arbitral Award, established over a century ago, conclusively settled the border controversy.

“I see absolutely no case for unilateral action by Venezuela,” the foreign secretary expressed while noting that discussions with Guyana’s President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, and other heads of state in the region are expected to be held.

Countries including the United States of America, The Bahamas, and organisations such as CARICOM, the Commonwealth, and the Organisation of American States (OAS) have also reaffirmed their support for Guyana’s sovereignty.

This follows Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro’s December 5 order which sought to create Guyana’s Essequibo County as a new Venezuelan state. This move is in clear defiance of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) December 1 ruling that barred the Spanish-speaking country from annexing the territory.

ICJ’s ruling made it clear that:

1.         The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, shall refrain from taking any action, which would modify the situation that currently prevails in the territory in dispute, whereby the Cooperative Republic of Guyana administers and exercises control over that area.

2.         Both parties must refrain from any action that can aggravate or extend the dispute before the court or make it more difficult to resolve.

However, Maduro has signed a ‘presidential decree’ creating the ‘High Commission for the Defence of Guayana Esequiba’ and announced the approval of oil, gas, and mining licenses for Venezuelan companies to operate in Guyana’s territory.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will meet Friday, December 8, to discuss these latest actions of Venezuela and members have been forwarded the December 1 ruling of the ICJ.

This follows a request made by Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd.

The council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 members, 10 non-permanent members, and five permanent members with veto powers: China, France, the UK, the US, and Russia.

Guyana will become a non-permanent member of the council in 2024, serving for two years.

Additionally, CARICOM heads of state are expected to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the latest development in the ongoing border controversy on Friday, December 8.

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