Venezuela objection to Guyana maritime claim expected but regrettable, says minister

By NY Net News
Posted on 17 Mar 2012 at 1:52pm

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) — Venezuela’s objection to Guyana’s claim for an extended continental shelf was expected, but at the same time deeply regrettable; however, the country is free to make known its views on the matter, according to Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.

Rodrigues-Birkett said that when the submission was made, there was some amount of reaction from Venezuela.

“We met in Trinidad. I met with my counterpart from Venezuela and we discussed the matter. Actually it states very clearly, that countries can make their views known. So if Guyana makes a submission and other countries would like their views known on that submission, they are free to do so. So Venezuela is free to make their views known to the commission,” Rodrigues-Birkett said.

She added that Guyana had been waiting to be called to make its oral submission and will be doing that on April 11, 2012.

On the hope of Guyana being successful in the application, the minister noted that there was a process involved during which the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) of the United Nations will consider Guyana’s submission along with many others.

“This is not something that you will hear tomorrow, that ‘Yes Guyana, this is what you have claimed and this is what you will receive.’ There are several other countries, Barbados, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago that have also made claims. What would happen, at some time, the commission would say, ‘Yes you’re entitled,’” the minister explained.

She added that, at that point in time, Guyana will then have to, “sit down with these countries to negotiate where those boundaries will fall.” She observed that the process is a very important one for Guyana.

In recognition of the fact that the boundary with Venezuela was definitively settled by the Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899, Guyana informed the CLCS, in its Submission, that, “there are no disputes in the region relevant to this Submission of data and information relating to the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.”

That statement remains legally and factually correct, the foreign minister stated.
She also pointed out that the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966, was aimed at allowing the parties to resolve the matter of the claim of nullity and invalidity of the arbitral award by Venezuela and, not to reopen the question of the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela.

Rodrigues-Birkett stated that, while Venezuela is not a party to the Convention of the Law of the Sea, the country would have not submitted any claim regarding the extension, “but the claim that they have on part of Guyana’s territory is still there.”

“So for us, our boundary has been settled by the 1899 arbitral award,” she stated.

“We would subscribe to the Good Officer’s process. Basically, that process is to help us to find a solution … and we believe that firstly it has to be proven that that award is null and void. So far that has not been the case,” the minister declared.

The foreign ministry earlier this week made it clear that Guyana’s submission to the CLCS, pursuant to Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Convention), was done in a manner fully consistent with the provisions of international law, including the convention.

The submission itself was made without prejudice to maritime delimitation with other states in accordance with the provisions of article 76 (10) of the convention.

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1 Comment

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