No significant development in Good Offices process

– Greenidge

There has been no significant development in the Good Offices process which is presently addressing the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge.

Speaking with Stabroek News at the residence of the British High Commissioner on Monday evening, Greenidge said that Ambassador Dag Nylander has been moving between the two capitals but there is nothing to report as yet from the process.

Nylander, the Personal Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres on the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, has visited Georgetown at least twice to engage in discussions with government.

In June, Minister of State Joseph Harmon had explained that while Nylander is the driver of his own programme and schedule, government is “hoping that by the end of December, 2017, when he would have completed his work, that he will arrive at a conclusion that is favourable to us in the circumstance.”

Before Nylander’s appointment, Guyana had argued for a juridical settlement, noting that years of the Good Offices process has yielded no result and has encouraged Venezuelan aggression.

Despite continued advocacy to this effect, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, before demitting office, had outlined in his decision that “if by the end of 2017, the Secretary General concludes that significant progress has not been made toward arriving at a full agreement for the solution of the controversy, he will choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement” unless Guyana and Venezuela “jointly request that he refrain from doing so.”

Guyana then committed its full support to giving this final year of the Good Offices process the best opportunity of success. Subsequently President David Granger met with Nylander along with other officials from the UN in April.

Relations with Venezuela deteriorated sharply in 2015, when Caracas issued a maritime decree intended to claim areas where US company ExxonMobil had just earlier made a huge oil find. This resulted in Guyana leading a diplomatic offensive against Caracas in the region for the withdrawal of the maritime decree. Caracas later replaced the decree with another which was equally unacceptable.

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