No compromise of principles in name of Cooperation -Rodrigues-Birkett

No compromise of principles in name of Cooperation -Rodrigues-Birkett

As Guyana gets ready for another round of discussions with Venezuela in the coming months over the Venezuelan’s Navy arrest of an oil exploration vessel in Guyana’s waters, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rordrigues Birkett has made it clear that Guyana will not sacrifice its principles in the name of cooperation when it comes to the disputed maritime area.

Updating Members of the National Assembly on Thursday about her meeting with her Venezuelan counterparts in October, the Foreign Affairs Minister said the Government of Guyana will do what it can to establish a regime of peace, security and beneficial cooperation with Venezuela “and has therefore opted in this instance to pursue a course of reasoned dialogue as the preferred course of action to safeguard Guyana’s sovereignty and integrity”

Minister Rodrigues-Birkett stated however, that “Guyana will not compromise its principles nor sacrifice any of its national patrimony for the federal gains displayed on the altar of cooperation”.

The Guyana and Venezuelan Ministers of Foreign Affairs met in Trinidad and Tobago back in October on the insistence of the Government of Guyana after the oil exploration vessel which was granted permission by Guyana, was arrested and escorted to Venezuela although it was within Guyana’s maritime boundaries.

The Venezuelan government insisted that the vessel was in its waters but the Government of Guyana made its protest known and provided evidence to show that the vessel was indeed withing Guyana’s maritime boundaries.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said throughout the meeting with the Venezuelans, she made Guyana’s position clear with regard to where the vessel was located at the time of its arrest.

Rodrigues-Birkett said the October 17 meeting was a fruitful one since it resulted in all of Guyana’s principal objectives being met which included the immediate release of the vessel and the safe return of its crew. Additionally, the establishment of a process for maritime delimitation of the boundary between Guyana and Venezuela was also agreed upon.

“In all honesty, these were satisfactory outcomes given the circumstances and the inevitable and indeed and understandable pressures to act otherwise”, the Minister said.

Since the meeting, Guyana has informed the international community on its outcome. Letters have been dispatched to the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, The Commonwealth and CARICOM.

She said the issue with Venezuela has to do with maritime delimitation and nothing else. The Minister emphasized that “for Guyana, our land border with Venezuela is settled by the 1899 arbitrary award which was agreed to by Venezuela and Great Britain on behalf of Guyana.”

That statement drew applause from all sides of the National Assembly.


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