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Guyana Venezuela Essequibo Border Dispute Map

Venezuela has asked for direct dialogue with Guyana over their ongoing border dispute after Guyana called for the dispute to go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for resolution.

President Dr Irfaan Ali of Guyana told the UN General Assembly in an address that while his government welcomes efforts to bring about domestic harmony within Venezuela, agreements that defy international law and processes must not be the basis for mediating such harmony.

President Ali has started a diplomatic campaign to encourage Venezuela to recognise the ICJ as a legitimate process.

“What we are doing internationally is encouraging Venezuela to participate fully in the process and to say to the world that we are committed to the international rule of law and to the jurisdiction and to the ruling of the ICJ.” 

The Venezuelan government responded in a statement:

“Let us not forget that this dispute represents the sad colonial heritage of the United Kingdom to this young nation from the process of decolonization of the sixties and, like it or not, it must be resolved in a peaceful, friendly and mutually acceptable way for both parties, as establishes the Geneva Agreement in its Preamble, the purpose of which is to achieve a practical and satisfactory settlement of the territorial dispute.”

The ICJ ruled in December 2020 that it has the jurisdiction to hear the case brought by Guyana concerning the validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award against Venezuela’s claims to 70 per cent of Guyana’s lands in the Essequibo region, which extends to 159,500 km2.

Venezuela have urged the Guyanese to abandon the move towards the International Court of Justice and accused the oil companies exploring off the Guyanese coast of derailing the ties between the two countries.

The Venezuelan government responded saying “Venezuela urges Guyana to abandon the unilateral path of the ICJ, which is contrary to the spirit and nature of the 1966 Geneva Agreement, the only valid legal instrument to settle this controversy.”



Image: Guyana Essequibo region of dispute. Copyright KMusser