Venezuela decree a flagrant violation of international law, says Guyana

Georgetown, Guyana — The government of Guyana has denounced a decree by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro purporting to annex maritime areas belonging to Guyana under the relevant rules of international law.

According to Guyana’s ministry of foreign affairs, the decree is a flagrant violation of international law and is inconsistent with the principle that all states should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states, large and small.

“The Cooperative Republic of Guyana rejects this illegality which seeks to undermine our efforts at development through the exploitation of our natural resources offshore. Guyana will continue, undeterred, to access and develop its resources in accordance with its Constitution and laws in keeping with the principles of international law, the ministry said in a statement.

The land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, which was defined by the Arbitral Award of 1899, is recognized by all states. Venezuela also recognized its border with Guyana as settled for over 60 years having also participated in the demarcation of this established boundary, which was completed in 1905, the foreign ministry pointed out.

“The Cooperative Republic of Guyana is concerned that the said decree disregards International Law, constitutes a threat to regional peace and security and breaches the Geneva Agreement of 1966. It is therefore imperative that Venezuela adheres to the principles of international law in seeking to delineate its maritime boundaries with neighbouring states pending actual delimitations,” the statement continued.

According to the foreign ministry, the decree cannot be applicable to any part of Guyana’s territory and any attempt by Venezuela to apply that instrument in an extra-territorial manner will be vigorously resisted by Guyana.

“In light of this Guyana will spare no effort in bringing to the attention of the international community this aggressive and illegal act by Venezuela,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, there is some relief in sight for the more than 40 Venezuelan passengers who were stranded in Guyana following a decision by the Guyana government, via the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), not to allow Venezuelan state-owned airline, Conviasa Airlines to land in the country over the non-payment of its bond.

Minister of public infrastructure, David Patterson, with responsibility for the transportation sector, said on Sunday that permission has been given for a “one-off flight” to take those who were stranded back to their native country.

It was previously revealed that Conviasa owed landing and administration fees to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the GCAA. In addition, the airline has never lodged a bond for its operations in Guyana.

Patterson stated that the airline has paid the monies owed to the CJIA and GCAA, but is still to lodge the bond with the Guyana government.

It is standard procedure that airlines operating out of Guyana would usually have to lodge a bond in case there is a need to cater for passengers affected by issues which may negatively affect their flights in and out of the country.

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