Govt gives assurances to prospective UK investors

first_imgGuyana/Venezuela border disputeA wave of excitement has been started in the oil and gas industry following significant discoveries made in Guyana by US-based oil giant ExxonMobil in 2015. However, some foreign investors are being deterred by Guyana’s ongoing border dispute with neighbouring Venezuela.Foreign Affairs Minister Carl GreenidgeDuring a recent meeting with potential investors in the United Kingdom (UK), the Government of Guyana gave its assurance that the border issue would not impact the sector, and that issues currently facing the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela would not spill over the Guyanese border.Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, who along with President David Granger visited the UK and held several meetings with investors recently, said businesses sought information regarding the general framework and outlook for security in Guyana.“We of course gave them the assurance, as we did with the other companies, that they can rest assured as far as (is) reasonable, (that) what is being experienced on the Guyana side of the border as regards the cross-border security, is stable. In other words, there is no reason to expect (that life) on the Guyana side of the border would be threatened in any way,” Greenidge told a recent media conference.Venezuela has repeatedly claimed part of Guyana’s territory, in violation of internationally accepted treaties and international law. Their claims have always been rejected by Guyana, which holds that issues concerning its border with Venezuela have been settled by the arbitral award of 1899.Vice-President Greenidge has reminded that the 1966 Geneva Agreement between Venezuela, Britain and Guyana has also provided for various mechanisms to resolve the controversy; one of which — the United Nations Secretary General’s Good Officer Process — has not yielded any progress for the past 25 years.Guyana is now seeking relief through one of the options in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter. Those options include arbitration and juridical settlement of the issue.Minister Greenidge has assured that Guyana will, under no circumstance, accept a simple bilateral agreement with Venezuela, which has broken the treaty that involved the United Kingdom and the United States.Venezuela, with almost 40 times the population of Guyana and a territory that is several times bigger, claimed, in 1968, the entire territorial sea of Guyana by means of the Leoni Decree, which has never been withdrawn. For decades now, Venezuela has occupied the Guyana side of Ankoko Island, objected to the development of hydro power stations in Essequibo, and has been staunchly opposed to Guyana exploring for oil offshore and onshore its Essequibo territory.The Venezuelan Navy had, in 2013, intercepted and detained a Malaysian seismic vessel that had been conducting surveys in an offshore concession granted by Guyana to the United States-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, causing that company to leave and never return.There have also been incidents inland Guyana, with Venezuelan aircraft attacking vessels operating on the portion of the Cuyuní River that the arbitration court has awarded Guyana.UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has recently appointed a new envoy to resolve the border controversy between Venezuela and Guyana. He has said he is ready to turn to the International Court of Justice to settle the issue if there is not substantial movement in that direction by end 2017.Dag Halvor Nylander of Norway has been appointed to help broker a settlement until the end of 2017, with a strengthened mandate of mediation.The dispute began heating up again in 2015 after a significant oil find was announced in an offshore concession granted by Guyana that Venezuela claims is in disputed waters.If no progress is made toward a settlement by the end of 2017, Guterres will choose the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement, unless the governments of Guyana and Venezuela jointly request that he refrain from doing so. (Samuel Sukhnandan)last_img

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