Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—The government of Venezuela condemned the statements of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres, who attempted to disregard the 1966 Geneva Agreement regarding the Essequibo territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana.
On Friday, November 10, Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Yván Gil stated, “Venezuela condemns the statements of the secretary general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who tried to deny the United Nation’s responsibility in the tensions created by Guyana in relation to the territorial controversy over the Essequibo region.”
In a communiqué, Venezuela reminded the UN secretary general and the international community that on February 25, 2018, Venezuela had highlighted the need to respect the 1966 Geneva Agreement, reiterating its position expressed in a letter sent to Guterres’ predecessor, Ban-Ki Moon on December 15, 2016. It is the position that Venezuela has been defending for decades and it is contrary to Guyana’s current strategy.
#Comunicado Venezuela rechaza las declaraciones atribuidas al Secretario General de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, Antonio Guterres, a través de las cuales pretende declinar su responsabilidad en las tensiones generadas por Guyana, relacionadas con la controversia… pic.twitter.com/wi3Di3lgUU
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) November 10, 2023
On Thursday night, the UN Press Office released a statement by Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN secretary general, announcing that the UN secretary general has trust in the good faith of Guyana and Venezuela to resolve the controversy over Essequibo, ignoring that Guyana’s recent non-recognition of the 1966 Geneva Agreement has led to the failure to reach an agreement on this matter.
An unofficial translation of the UN statement is provided below:
The Secretary General is following with concern the recent escalation of tension between Guyana and Venezuela due to the border controversy between the two countries. He has trust in the good faith of both parties to prevent any action that aggravates or prolongs the controversy.
In January 2018, after carefully analyzing the evolution of the process in good faith that had taken place over the previous years, the Secretary-General, in the exercise of the power and responsibility conferred upon him by the 1966 Geneva Agreement, elected the International Court of Justice as the next step to resolve the border dispute between the two countries. The dispute is now before the International Court of Justice. The Secretary General does not express an opinion on matters that are subjects of ongoing judicial proceedings.
The UN statement failed to mention that the 1966 Geneva Agreement clearly established that any decision in resolving the territorial dispute should be taken by mutual agreement between Venezuela and Guyana.
The Venezuelan statement clarified that against the will of one of the parties, in this case Venezuela, the controversy was transferred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which “marked a turning point in the behavior of Guyana, which has abandoned the diplomatic channel of direct dialogue.”
In its communiqué, Venezuela highlighted its constant call to establish direct diplomatic talks with Guyana, and reiterated that on December 3, the Venezuelan people, through a referendum, will assert their right over the Essequibo territory.
Below is the full unofficial translation of the Venezulan statement:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela condemns the statements attributed to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, through which he attempts to deny his responsibility in the tensions generated by Guyana, related to the territorial controversy over the Essequibo region.
Venezuela reminds the Secretary General and the International Community that on February 25, 2018, it highlighted the need to respect the 1966 Geneva Agreement, reiterating its position expressed in the letter sent to Guterres’ predecessor Ban ki Moon, dated December 15, 2016. However, turning its back on the application of the successive methods of peaceful settlement of international disputes contemplated in said agreement, the case was referred [by the United Nations], without the will of one of the parties, to the International Court of Justice. This action marked a turning point in the behavior of Guyana, which has abandoned the diplomatic channel of direct dialogue, making decisions that challenge international legality and threaten the peace and stability of the Caribbean region. Years later we ask: What was the point of taking this case to the ICJ without having the consent of an essential party, in this case Venezuela, violating the letter of the Geneva Agreement?
It is the actions of Guyana, in association with the United States Southern Command and authorizing oil concessions in disputed waters with Venezuela, that is becoming the greatest threat to the peace and stability of the Caribbean region. Venezuela’s insistent call has been aimed at establishing direct, face-to-face conversations that allow progress in the peaceful and satisfactory resolution for both parties of the controversy over the Essequibo territory, as established in the only valid document, the Geneva Agreement.
This December 3, the Venezuelan people will decide, in a sovereign, democratic and peaceful manner, their destiny to assert their historic rights over the Essequibo territory. Nothing and no one will keep us from that path.
Caracas, November 10, 2023
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff