Canada supports legal settlement of Guyana/Venezuela border issue

Canada has joined the US in supporting Guyana’s move to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the border issue with Venezuela.

A statement of support was posted Monday evening on the official Facebook page of the High Commission of Canada to Guyana and Suriname.

“Venezuela’s recent claim that it has sovereignty over the area adjacent to Guyana’s Essequibo coast is concerning. The decision is in the hands of the International Court of Justice and this judicial process must be respected,” the statement read.

It comes a day after US officials reiterated their country’s support for a judicial settlement of the matter.

Acting Assistant Secretary for US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Mr. Michael Kozak, on Sunday tweeted, from his official Twitter account, that the US supports the International Court of Justice’s December 18 ruling that it has jurisdiction to hear the case.

The statement follows the decree issued by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro last Thursday claiming sovereignty and exclusive sovereign rights in the waters and seabed adjacent to Guyana’s coast, west of the Essequibo River.

Mr. Kozak said pursing the judicial settlement was “the legal and peaceful way forward.”

“Maduro’s aggressive claims don’t change this, they only show the world his disregard for his neighbors and [international] law,” the Assistant Secretary said.

US Ambassador in Georgetown Ms. Sarah-Ann Lynch, who retweeted the statement on her official Twitter account, noted that the United States has long called for “a legal peaceful resolution” to the border issue and it was reiterating that call.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali in responding to the decree on Saturday said Venezuela’s attempt to unilaterally fix its land and maritime boundaries with Guyana is a legal nullity.

The Guyanese leader expressed confidence that the ICJ would rule in Guyana’s favour that the 1899 Arbitral Award, which settled the boundary between then British Guiana and Venezuela, remains valid. The ICJ is set to host the Case Management Conference for the substantive case on Friday.