first_img…says Venezuela bound to honour int’l treaty obligationsGovernment is downplaying concerns that with the recent referral of the border controversy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Venezuela may choose not to recognise the court’s ruling.According to Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, binding international obligations compel Venezuela to accept whatever ruling comes its way. Speaking to the media on Monday, he noted that whether Venezuela chose to come to court or not, Guyana would press on for a final, legal resolution.A diplomatic three-way handshake: Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President David Granger“The international community has a forum and that’s the United Nations,” Greenidge explained. “The decision has been made that the problem before us is a legal problem. Therefore, it is to be resolved by the highest court in the international arena. The arbitral award was an award handed down and signed by Venezuelans.“The boundaries were marked by Venezuelans and Britons, not by Brazilians or Germans or people from Iceland … representatives from the Venezuelan Government. This direction is to resolve an allegation that an international treaty is null and void. And it doesn’t matter who doesn’t want to support their argument. It is a legal issue.”While there are concerns that the ICJ can only offer an advisory opinion, Greenidge noted that this opinion would still carry weight. According to Greenidge, an advisory opinion solves Guyana’s problems regarding perception of Guyana’s rights and sovereignty.“The appropriate body to decide on the validity is the court. Once the court pronounces on that, it solves our problem of perception and people’s understanding of our rights and our borders and our sovereignty. It’s quite clear.”“An advisory opinion will say this treaty is still in existence. Nothing has come to displace it. That is fine. We’re not setting out in the court to get the court to go and mark boundaries. That is not the issue,” the Foreign Affairs Minister stressed, adding that “it is very comforting (to investors) because it is not for a country to decide unilaterally what its obligations are. It is not a Venezuelan law or a Guyanese law. It is an international treaty and you are obliged, under the UN framework, to honour international law. That is very comforting.”Secretary General António Guterres last week referred the border controversy to the ICJ. This is in accordance with the framework left by his predecessor, Ban Ki-moon. While the referral has been hailed by Guyana, Venezuela is another matter entirely.Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has since said publicly that his Government did not agree with the decision, and that continued negotiations would have been preferable. It is understood that now that the matter has been referred to the ICJ, this referral is not contingent on Venezuela’s agreement.In a previous statement on the matter, the Foreign Affairs Ministry had noted that this referral did not require Venezuela’s approval beyond what was allotted in the 1966 Geneva Agreement. Guyana will now have to procure international lawyers to present its case on the international front.last_img