UN envoy on border controversy due next week

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres’ representative on the Guyana and Venezuela border controversy is scheduled to arrive here next week and Georgetown is welcoming his visit.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge yesterday informed of Dag Halvor Nylander’s visit but said that he would speak about the arrangements pertaining to it tomorrow.

Stabroek News understands that as part of his role as the  Secretary-General’s representative Nylander will visit Guyana on Wednesday following a visit to Venezuela.

Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Cheryl Miles, is currently here for the Annual Heads of Missions Conference being held at the Pegasus Hotel. It is unclear if she will be meeting with Nylander either here or in Venezuela next week.

Dag Halvor Nylander’

The Norwegian diplomat who dealt with the Colombian peace process, was appointed back in February of this year, a move that was also welcomed by President David Granger. “We welcome the appointment. We feel it’s a positive move. We are confident that the appointee can do his job and we will abide by the Terms of Reference and the conditions that have been laid down by the United Nations’ Secretary-General,” the President had said following Nylander’s appointment.

Granger had also pointed out that the experiences Guyana faced with Venezuela over the years have been a disincentive for foreign investors. He said that the government saw the appointment of Nylander as the UN taking a stand and “is an indication that the matter will be brought to some form of closure by the end of this year and we expect that things will be better for Guyanese investment.”

The appointment had followed Guyana’s request to the UN for a judicial settlement of the long running controversy. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon decided last year that the UN good officer process would continue for one more year and if there was no progress, the matter would go to the World Court in The Hague.

Greenidge gave an update on where the matter is currently.  He explained “There is an agreement to which Venezuela is a party; the Geneva Agreement of 1966. That agreement clearly says, under Article 4, that if the two parties cannot agree on the next step for a peaceful resolution of the conflict the Secretary General who is under the functions of the Good Officer here…that Article says that he can choose from a menu. The menu is contained in Article 33 of the UN Charter.

That Article deals with the menu and it runs from mediation…and ICJ.”

He clarified that when the Secretary General is acting pertaining to the Guyana and Venezuela controversy, he is not performing as the CEO of the UN. “So he doesn’t have to follow the rules of the United Nations that says it has to go to the Security Council or it has to go to Committee 2, he is acting as a Good Officer. He is the good officer, all the people that are named are not mentioned in the Geneva Agreement,” the Foreign Affairs Minister asserted.

“In normal circumstances, if two countries have a dispute and it ends up with the Secretary General he is limited in his ability to refer the matter to the court. The two parties have to agree, unless it is a particular matter. In this case, it has nothing to do with the UN Charter per se. The power of the SG arises not from him being CEO of the UN. It arises from the two sides agreeing in 1966 that he can choose. The Geneva Agreement allows him to choose a personal representative. Venezuela did not accept any of the names he had given them last year. So he has chosen to identify a person, whether or not the two parties agree. So that is where you are now,” Greenidge added.

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