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In a joint declaration on Thursday night, Guyana and Venezuela agreed not to use force against one another in any circumstances, including those that arise from any existing controversies between them.
The declaration was made during discussions between the two countries’ presidents, Irfaan Ali and Nicolas Maduro, facilitated by the prime ministers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.
The meeting was called due to a dispute over an oil and mineral-rich territory claimed by both nations. This latest chapter in the bitter rivalry between Guyana and Venezuela concerns the control over Essequibo, a vast border region located along their shared border.
The parties present at the meeting reiterated their commitment to Latin America and the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace, and both Guyana and Venezuela agreed to resolve any controversies between them according to international law, including the Geneva Agreement of February 17, 1966.
They also committed to good neighborliness, peaceful coexistence, and the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Guyana stated its commitment to the process and procedures of the International Court of Justice for the resolution of the border controversy, while Venezuela asserted its lack of consent and recognition of the International Court of Justice and its jurisdiction in the border controversy.
The two countries agreed to continue dialogue on any other pending matters of mutual importance and to refrain from escalating any conflict or disagreement arising from any controversy between them.
They also agreed to cooperate to avoid incidents on the ground that could lead to tension between them, and in the event of such an incident, they will immediately communicate with one another, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC), and the President of Brazil to contain, reverse, and prevent its recurrence.
A joint commission of the Foreign Ministers and technical persons from the two States will be established immediately to address matters as mutually agreed, and an update from this commission will be submitted to the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela within three months.
Both States agreed that Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves, the Pro-Tempore President of CELAC, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, the incumbent CARICOM Chairman, and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil will remain seized of the matter as Interlocutors, and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, will observe, with the ongoing concurrence of Presidents Irfaan Ali and Nicolas Maduro.
Prime Minister Gonsalves’ role will continue even after Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ceases to be the Pro-Tempore President of CELAC, within the framework of the CELAC Troika plus one; and Prime Minister Skerrit’s role will continue as a member of the CARICOM Bureau.
Both States agreed to hold another meeting in Brazil, within the next three months or at an agreed time, to consider any matter with implications for the territory in dispute, including the above-mentioned update of the joint commission.
Observers at the meeting included Their Excellencies Earle Courtenay Rattray, Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Miroslav Jenca, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, as well as His Excellency Alvaro Leyva Durán, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia, and Mr. Gerardo Torres Zelaya, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Honduras, in his capacity as CELAC Troika.