Venezuela denounces that Guyana intends to ignore the Geneva Agreement to settle the controversy over the Essequibo
This Tuesday, in statements to the press, the Executive Vice-president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez, categorically reiterated the Venezuelan Government’s adherence to the Geneva Agreement as the only instrument to settle the controversy with the Cooperative Republic of Guyana over the Essequibo territory; and made reference to 21 proposals presented by Caracas to Georgetown in order to reach a peaceful and satisfactory agreement.
“The 1966 Geneva Agreement only served Guyana to obtain its independence, but the mandate contained in this agreement was to reach a practical and satisfactory agreement for both parties, amicably through mechanisms of political and peaceful negotiation”,
The high official emphasized after the irregular hearing convened for this June 30 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), on the unilateral claim filed before that court by the Guyanese government.
Vice-president Rodríguez ratified Venezuela’s historical position of not recognizing the jurisdiction of the ICJ to settle the controversy over the Essequibo territory and denounced that Guyana seeks to completely “assassinate” the Geneva Agreement, which is nothing more than a legal instrument that governs both parties, of which “they cannot separate themselves no matter how much they want”.
He also rejected the claims to validate the Arbitration Award of 1899 [promulgated when Guyana was not yet a republic, but a British colony] that “it was for the consummation or to seek the consummation of a territorial dispossession against Venezuela, from the Orinoco to the south (…) Very dangerous claims and that is what Guyana is showing.”
The Vice-president outlined the memorandum issued by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in which Venezuela supports that the international tribunal lacks jurisdiction to deal with the unilateral lawsuit filed by the Cooperative Republic of Guyana on March 29, 2018, on the territorial dispute over Guayana Esequiba, warning that the Venezuelan State will not yield to any extortion.
Aquí el Memorando que Venezuela remitió a la Corte Internacional de Justicia ratificando su posición histórica y presentando los fundamentos por los que esta Corte carece de jurisdicción para tratar la controversia territorial sobre la Guayana Esequiba. https://t.co/QU7CjJQu3D— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) June 30, 2020
The memorandum sent by the Bolivarian Government contains, among other norms, the Geneva Agreement, signed by Venezuela, Great Britain and the British Guiana colony on February 17, 1966, as well as the chronology of its application from its signature to the year 2015.
Key points of the memorandum
I) Agreement to Resolve the Controversy between Venezuela and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland over the Border between Venezuela and British Guiana known as the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966
At this point the document details the form and terms by which the territorial controversy between Venezuela and the United Kingdom over the Essequibo was submitted to arbitration, as well as the development of the Arbitration Award of 1899. It further states that during the colonial period of Guyana [under British tutelage], the title of sovereignty of Venezuela over the territory of the Essequibo river was granted, later coinciding with the process of independence of the same Guyana, and opening the doors to the so-called Geneva Agreement.
II) Article IV.2 of the Geneva Agreement: text and context
In the memorandum sent to the ICJ, it is stated that Guyana’s claim before the ICJ “is based on a false foundation”, since Article IV.2 of the Geneva Agreement, on the basis of which this country intends to justify its unilateral action, indicates only that the Secretary General of the UN may choose among the means of dispute resolution listed in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, but the Court itself has observed that this last article is not a “specific provision to confer compulsory jurisdiction on the Court.”
III) The object of the Guyana lawsuit does not correspond to the object of the dispute under the Geneva Agreement
In relation to the object of the lawsuit, the document states that Guyana’s interpretation is artificial and erroneous.
“Guyana claims that its object is the validity or nullity of the award of 1899 (and the 1905 agreement). Furthermore, it has tried to enrich its claim with a series of petitions allegedly linked to the requested declaration of validity, petitions that clearly go beyond the scope on which the Court could exercise its jurisdiction in the event that, against all legal logic, it accepted it on the only basis that Guyana unilaterally invokes”
It also clarifies that “the validity or nullity of the award is not the core of the dispute. If it were, instead of the Geneva Agreement, a different agreement would have been concluded with an arbitration or judicial binding clause.”