High Stakes Meeting Tomorrow: Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela to Convene in St. Vincent

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(L-R) Presidents Ali of Guyana and Maduro of Venezuela

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has expressed his commitment to dialogue and peaceful coexistence in a letter to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, ahead of a crucial meeting with Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali. The meeting, set to address the “main threats to peace and stability” of the two countries, is scheduled to take place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and will be facilitated by various regional bodies including CARICOM and CELAC.

President Ali, however, has clarified that the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, a central issue of contention, will not be a topic of discussion at this meeting. He has consistently maintained that the matter is before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and is seeking a final, binding settlement there. Guyana asserts that the 1899 Arbitral Award, which established the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, is valid and should be respected.

The decision for President Ali to attend the meeting followed consultations with various stakeholders in Guyana, including technical teams, lawyers, and the Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton. Ali emphasized that there is no room for negotiation or compromise on the border issue, which is strictly a matter for the ICJ.

The meeting, to be held under the observation of Brazil, CARICOM, and a UN Under-Secretary-General, is seen as a significant step towards de-escalating the conflict through dialogue. Additionally, it highlights the importance of adhering to international law and avoiding the use of force.

France has also voiced its support for Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity amidst this dispute. French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, called on Venezuela to refrain from unilateral actions that could heighten tensions. She emphasized the importance of resolving disputes through international bodies like the ICJ and expressed France’s support for peaceful conflict resolution.

This high-level meeting is a critical moment in the long-standing territorial dispute between Guyana and Venezuela and reflects the concerted efforts of regional and international actors to foster dialogue and uphold the principles of international law.

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