Following his videoconference two days ago with Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Relations Jorge Arreaza, Guyana’s Minister who holds the same portfolio, Hugh Todd, issued a statement which said both parties discussed modalities for the release of the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf and the crew members, detained since Thursday, January 21, 2021, at Port Guiria in Venezuela. Todd described the discussion as being “cordial” while adding that Arreaza “undertook to pursue their early release.”
But subsequent statements by Arreaza on the said meeting suggested a more worrying undertone.
The Ministry’s statement clearly stated that the Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Relations conveyed to the Guyanese Minister, the concerns of Venezuela regarding the handling of the case by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Guyana, “even showing them the evidence and location coordinates that proved that the vessels were carrying out illegal fishing in the jurisdictional waters of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”
In the same spirit, the Ministry said that Arreaza delivered on the said day, a Note of Protest to the Chargé d’Affaires of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Robert McKenzie, in rejection of the Guyanese defamations and accusations following the unauthorized incursion of these vessels. Importantly, this was not related to the media by Todd.
Furthermore, the statement by the Ministry further noted that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela rejects the false accusations and misrepresentations expressed by the Guyanese Ministry for Foreign Affairs, with respect to its concerns over the kidnapping of the Guyanese fishermen. The Venezuelan government body believes that comments in that regard are not based on good faith while qualifying as inadmissible, the claim of Guyana to call said territory where the fishermen were abducted as its “Exclusive Economic Zone and continental platform”. (See further details in this separate communiqué: http://www.mppre.gob.ve/en/comunicado/venezuela-objects-guyanas-false-accusations-after-interception-illegal-fishing-vessels-jurisdictional-waters/)
The ministry categorically stated that Venezuela “will continue to protect its jurisdictional waters in safeguard of its sovereignty and territorial integrity…”
Following the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it has jurisdiction to hear the case concerning the territorial controversy between the two South American neighbours, Venezuela issued a statement on January 22, 2021, which essentially noted that it intends to invoke the provision for the equality of States which is provided by the Charter of the United Nations.
In its statement, Venezuela repeated spurious claims that the international community is aware that the Arbitration Award of October 3rd, 1899 which emphatically states that the Essequibo belongs to Guyana, is not in accordance with the law.
The Spanish speaking nation further stated that it is demanding the ICJ to postpone all hearings on the case until April 2021. It said that any meeting earlier than this will deprive the country of the necessary time it needs to carry out considerations and consultations before assuming a position on an issue of importance.
It said that further disregard of its demand could be considered a “bad omen” in view of the due guarantee that must be provided for the preservation of the rights of both Parties, in accordance with their Statute and the principle of legal equality of States.