Guyana and Venezuela Continue Dialogue for Peaceful Resolution in Border Dispute: The Argyle Declaration in Focus

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro And His Guyanese Counterpart Irfaan Ali Meet In Kingstown
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro And His Guyanese Counterpart Irfaan Ali Meet in St. Vincent at the Argyle International Airport.

Guyana is actively participating in regional peace efforts, as highlighted by President Dr. Irfaan Ali’s announcement regarding the Joint Commission of the Foreign Ministers and technical persons meeting in Brazil. Guyanese Foreign Affairs Minister, Hugh Todd, is leading a delegation to meet with Venezuelan officials, demonstrating Guyana’s commitment to maintaining a peaceful and stable region.

This meeting is a continuation of the dialogue initiated under the Argyle Declaration, an 11-point agreement between Guyana and Venezuela, pledging to avoid escalation in their longstanding border controversy. The declaration was a result of a historic meeting facilitated by St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, with observation by Brazil, CARICOM, and a UN Under-Secretary-General.

The Guyanese delegation, led by Minister Todd and including key diplomats and officials, will discuss various consequential matters related to the border issue. The agenda is expected to cover trade, climate, energy security, and initiatives to improve the neighborly relationship between the two countries.

The genesis of the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy dates back to the 1899 Arbitral Award, which established the land boundary between British Guiana (now Guyana) and Venezuela. Despite this, tensions have persisted over the years, with Venezuela repeatedly contesting the award’s validity. In a significant move, Guyana approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2018 seeking affirmation of the award, leading to a 2020 ruling by the ICJ confirming its jurisdiction over the matter.

The Argyle Declaration emerged against the backdrop of heightened tensions following a referendum in Venezuela, which was perceived as an attempt to strengthen its claims over the Essequibo region, a significant portion of Guyana’s territory. This meeting between the leaders of Guyana and Venezuela, leading to the Argyle Declaration, reflects a mutual commitment to peace and stability in Latin America and the Caribbean. As the situation evolves, Guyana remains steadfast in its commitment to these principles and the peaceful resolution of the border controversy.

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