US reiterates support for judicial settlement of Guyana/Venezuela border controversy

Top US officials have reiterated their country’s support for a judicial settlement of the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, a position in keeping with that of the Guyana Government.

Acting Assistant Secretary for US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, 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 Guyana’s border controversy with Venezuela and we reiterate that call today.”

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 was 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 January 15.