No word on UN process for border controversy

-Ban had promised yearend deadline

As 2017 draws to a close a promised pronouncement on the way forward in the resolution of the Guyana-Venezuela Border controversy has not been delivered.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon told Sunday Stabroek yesterday that there has been no further update from Dag Nylander, the Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres on the matter.

On December 16, 2016, in a much-anticipated decision, Guterres’ predecessor,  Ban Ki-moon decided that the Good Offices process on the decades-old border controversy would be given one more year and if by the end of 2017 “significant progress” was not made, the case would move to the ICJ. Nylander was appointed by Guterres to conduct the Good Offices Process on his behalf and to actively engage with the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela with a view to exploring and proposing options for a solution to the border controversy between the two countries.

The Good Offices process continues to be pursued despite a request in 2015 by the Government of Guyana that the United Nations Secretary-General take steps toward a resolution of the controversy using an option from the menu as stated in the Geneva Agreement of 17 February 1966. The Guyana Government has repeatedly stated its preference for a judicial settlement while Venezuela wants to continue with the Good Offices process.

In 2017 despite several rounds of meetings between the two sides, the most recent of which occurred in Antigua and Barbuda earlier this month, it doesn’t appear as if substantial progress has been made on resolving the controversy.

Harmon noted that while the Secretary General should’ve made a determination, Guyana’s government cannot decide how he does his job.

“We are waiting. There should be a determination announced in January,” he said.

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