December 15, 2016Excellency, I have the honor to write to you regarding the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, which has arisen as the result of the Venezuelan contention that the Arbitral Award of 1899 about the frontier between British Guiana and Venezuela is null and void. You will recall that, during our meeting on the margins of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, I outlined to you my intention to conduct a stocktaking of the progress achieved in the current Good Offices Process. This stocktaking was to serve as the basis for my consideration of how I should proceed in the exercise of the responsibility conferred on me by Article IV of the 1966 Geneva Agreement. As you will be aware, that provision vests me with the power to choose means for the settlement of the controversy from among those contemplated in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations. I have now completed that process of stocktaking. What stood out during the stocktaking is that, while substantive differences remain between Guyana and Venezuela, it has nevertheless been possible to maintain a Good Offices Process that has kept a form of dialogue going between the two countries throughout the last 25 years. For that, I wish to congratulate the Governments of your country and of Guyana. After careful analysis, I have arrived at certain conclusions regarding what constitute the most appropriate next steps. I have discussed my conclusions with the Secretary-General-designate, His Excellency Mr. António Guterres, since, upon the end of my tenure, it will fall to him to discharge the responsibilities that Article IV of the Geneva Agreement places upon the Secretary-General. Taking into account all factors – including, prominently, your Government’s preference for the way forward regarding the Good Offices Process – I have reached the following conclusions, with which the Secretary-General-designate concurs. Initially, the Good Offices Process will continue for one final year, until the end of 2017, with a strengthened mandate of mediation. 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 your Government and the Government of Guyana jointly request that he refrain from doing so. Please note that I am making this way forward public. The final year of mediation will be led by a Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, who will be appointed by Mr. Guterres, at his discretion, soon after taking office. The Personal Representative may take proposals on any aspect or aspects of the bilateral relationship between your country and Guyana that may facilitate reaching a full agreement for the solution of the controversy. As a first step, the Personal Representative will discuss with both parties possible confidence-building measures to create a positive environment for bilateral dialogue. The Personal Representative will closely monitor those confidence-building measures. I am pleased to express, on behalf of the Secretary-General-designate, his commitment to follow through on the way forward that is described above. The Secretary-General-designate and I would be most grateful for the understanding of your Government and the people of Venezuela. A negotiated settlement is in the best interest of your country as well as of Guyana, given that a mutually agreed solution facilitates implementation. I hope that your Government and the people of Venezuela will rest assured of my strong commitment and that of the Secretary-General-designate to see the controversy between your country and Guyana resolved. Once Mr. Guterres has taken office, he will communicate to your Government and the Government of Guyana his choice for a Personal Representative, who will actively seek such a solution. Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.