With three days left before November comes to an end, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General ( Ban ki-Moon is yet to fulfill his commitment of assessing the existing Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and choosing a resolution method.
He had promised to make his assessment known before the end of November.
But Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, wouldn’t hold his breath on an assessment by the end of November as was promised.
“Ban ki-Moon committed himself to a set of processes. November was mentioned in the context of stock taking and after that he undertook to hand down his decision. I wouldn’t hold my breath for the end of November” he told reporters on Saturday.
Power resides with the Secretary General of the UN to choose a course of action to settle international disputes and controversies. In September, Mr. Ban had told President Granger in New York that “I have to make an assessment by November.”
And with this assessment not appearing imminent, Minister Greenidge believes that both the assessment and a decision on the course of action are likely to be announced in December.
“My understanding is that decision will be announced before he leaves office and so we are looking well into December” he said.
Just last week President David Granger expressed confidence in the Secretary General, noting that he will hold the official to his word in assessing the controversy which has heightened tension between the neighbouring South American states.
“We have to hold Mr. Ban ki-Moon to his own word. The word he used was assessment. November is quickly passing so we expect Mr. Ban ki-Moon to quickly fulfill his obligation to let us have an assessment” the President said in a telephone interview with News Source.
Guyana has consistently called for the matter to be settled in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Since the rebirth of the issue in May 2015, after Guyana discovered oil, the country has received support and solidarity from several regional and international bodies, including the Caribbean Community (CAICOM), the Commonwealth of Nations and the Organisation of American States (OAS).
The controversy with Venezuela dates back to over a century, with renewed and forceful claims after the American oil firm ExxonMobil announced a giant oil find offshore Guyana last year.
It was back in 1966, on the eve of Guyana’s independence from Britain, that Venezuela claimed the 1899 arbitral award which settled the countries’ borders, was null and void.
That triggered the so-called Geneva Agreement, which mandated the United Nations Secretary- General to dictate a mechanism to settle the controversy as provided for in Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations.
Venezuela is laying claims to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. Guyana maintains that the issue has long been settled.