Georgetown, Guyana – (August 31, 2015) President David Granger, this morning, met with a special team from the United Nations to discuss his Government’s position on the strained relations between Guyana and Venezuela. Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon were also present at the meeting.
The team, which was accompanied by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Country Representative, Khadija Musa included; Chief, Americas Division in the Department of Political Affairs, Martha Doggett, Political Affairs Officer, Marylene Smeets, Legal Officer from the UN Office of Legal Affairs, Diana Taratukhina and Senior Mediation Expert from the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria, Sven Koopmans.
Martha Doggett who is leading the delegation explained, “We are really here to inform ourselves of the views of the Governments and their views on the next steps so that we can advise the Secretary General of the United Nations, who will then speak to the Presidents and craft a way forward.”
While the team is yet to visit Venezuela, Doggett said that the UN has had a number of exchanges with both parties in New York and at the recently concluded CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Barbados.
At that meeting, President Granger stated that the Good Officer Process and the Geneva Convention which, have been adopted in the past, have been exhausted and a better solution is needed to end Venezuela’s aggression, with regard to Guyana’s sovereign territory.
At the same forum, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon gave a commitment that a mission will be appointed and sent to Guyana, with the aim of addressing the matter from a more in depth and informed point of view.
In Early June, Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro issued a Decree, claiming most of Guyana’s territorial waters on the Essequibo Coast. That Decree was subsequently withdrawn and replaced with a new one that supports and justifies the actions of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) in defending the newly created Integrated Defense Maritime Zones and Island, which encompasses most of Guyana’s exclusive economic zone, including the Stabroek Block, offshore Essequibo.
The Decree was issued after United States-based oil company Exxon Mobil announced that it has discovered significant evidence of oil in the Stabroek Block. The company has been conducting exploratory works in accordance with the prospecting contract it has been granted by the Government of Guyana.