Guyana/Suriname focused on development – President Ali

– as ‘Border Commission’ works to resolve border issue

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali says fostering a strong diplomatic partnership between Guyana and Suriname is the focus, even as the Joint Commission works to mediate the border issue over the New River Triangle territory.

President Ali made the disclosure at a joint press conference with Suriname’s President Mr. Chandrikapersad Santokhi on Tuesday in the neighbouring country. President Ali was on his first State visit overseas.

The Head of State said while the maritime matter has been settled, the Border Commission is examining the border issue. The maritime issue was settled by the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in 2007.

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi

“We had a maritime issue that has been resolved, and I am sure you are aware that we have a Border Commission that is working assiduously on outstanding issues [….] Just like we allow the other process to bring a resolution, and both countries are benefitting, we have to allow the Commission to do its work at the technical level, and when they have finalised their work, they will bring their recommendations to us,” President Ali stated.

The President said speaking prematurely on the ongoing process would be an injustice to the Commission.  He highlighted that one matter is not dependent on the other and if both countries keep focusing on the issue, they would be stymieing the development of both. The focus, he said, is capitalising on new opportunities so that both countries can benefit.

“What we are focused on while they are doing their work, is moving ahead with the relationship; moving ahead in solidifying our plans, moving ahead in bringing the two countries and people closer together, creating new opportunities, infrastructure, a framework for trade, ensuring that we are ready and equipped to face the challenges that will come so that we can have the maximum benefit from the opportunities,” President Ali underscored. The New River Triangle border issue between Guyana and Suriname dates back to 1840 and concerns the area between the Upper Corentyne River, the Coeroeni River and the Kutari River.

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