“Govt will not allow Venezuela to illegally claim Essequibo!” – Min. Greenidge
– ICJ to rule after February 2019
– govt justifies legal spending on border case
– govt has no doubt that the matter will be resolved by the ICJ
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, December 20, 2018
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge says money spent on legal fees in Guyana’s case against Venezuela over the Essequibo ‘is worth it’. The Minister was at the time addressing the media at an end-of-year press briefing at his office.
According to Minister Greenidge, so far, the government has spent approximately $780M in 2018, to cover legal fees in its border controversy case currently before the International Court of Justice.
The money spent thus far is from the US$15M [$3.1Billion] which was set aside from the US$18M [$3.7Billion] signing bonus, given to the government by ExxonMobil.
The minister says this matter was an area of interest for his ministry this year.
“The main event of interest, as 2018 broke, was the discussion with the Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General intended to be a last effort to resolve the controversy arising from Venezuela’s contention that the 1899 Treaty is null and void,” Minister Greenidge said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister noted his satisfaction that the matter has progressed.
“Not so much because it is shortly to be concluded but because it has been set on a path that points to a conclusion within a reasonable time,” Minister Greenridge clarified.
The ICJ would decide on Jurisdiction after February 2019.
Venezuela renewed its claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory after US oil-giant ExxonMobil announced the first of many oil finds in 2015.
However, the Foreign Affairs Minister says the government has no doubt that the matter will be resolved by the ICJ.
On 29 March 2018, Guyana filed an Application against Venezuela before the ICJ concerning the two States’ long-standing controversy over the border region.
This application was filed after the UN Secretary-General decided, on 30 January 2018, that the matter between Guyana and Venezuela should be submitted to the Court.
A decision by the ICJ could be the final act in a controversy which has long divided the two neighbouring countries.
Images: Keno George.