As Guyanese authorities await a ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the nation’s application for emergency measures against Venezuela’s December 3 referendum, President Ali assured the nation during a press conference today, that his government is exploring all avenues to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity.
President Ali stated, “We believe that Venezuela would not act in a reckless way,” adding, “However, if they (Venezuela) do act recklessly, we have already engaged our strategic partners… I am confident that our partners will be alongside us should Venezuela opt wrongly to act recklessly.”
The Head of State emphasized that the government’s concerted efforts, both domestically and internationally, are yielding positive results. President Ali highlighted engagements with regional and international partners, expressing confidence that Guyana’s approach will bring success and maintain regional peace.
President Ali said he has also personally engaged with leaders worldwide, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the situation, including discussions with figures such as President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, leaders from the Middle East, as well as members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
He disclosed that Chief of Staff Brigadier Omar Khan’s collaborations with counterparts within and beyond the region are also progressing rapidly.
“So there is absolutely no space we are leaving in relation to the seriousness through which we are treating this matter,” Ali added.
The referendum in question asks Venezuelans, among other things, if they agree with the government’s plan to incorporate the Essequibo region and to grant the Essequibo population Venezuelan citizenship. Guyana on Tuesday asked the World Court to issue emergency measures to stop the vote. For their part, Venezuela said Guyana’s demand interfered with its internal affairs and constitutional order. In fact, Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez told the court, nothing will prevent the referendum scheduled for December 3.
Responding to the VP’s statement, President Ali underscored that while Venezuela as a sovereign state has the right to engage its people on national matters, such recourse should not be used as an excuse to violate and destroy Guyana’s fundamental rights as a sovereign state.
The Head of State noted too that Guyana is confident that the ICJ has understood its petition and that within a short time, the court will issue an order directing Venezuela not to take any of the actions for which it seeks from its people in the referendum.
“Guyana is confident that the court will order Venezuela not to take any actions that violate or intervene with its right to the Essequibo region during the remainder of the case until the court has ruled on the legal validity of the 1899 Arbitral Award,” Ali noted.
He continued, “We neither expect nor need the court to stop Venezuela from holding its referendum, but what we expect and need is an order from the court preventing Venezuela from carrying out any of the hostile actions that might be endorsed by the referendum or any other actions that might interfere with Guyana’s sovereign rights.”
Importantly, President Ali highlighted that orders from the ICJ are binding to all parties. He reminded that under the UN charter, all states are solemnly bound to comply with the court’s order which can be enforced by the UN Security Council.
“We expect Venezuela compliance with whatever the court orders,” President Ali said, adding, “We do not expect that Venezuela will put itself in outright defiance of the court or in flagrant breach of its international obligations.”
Furthermore, President Ali acknowledged the potential complexity introduced by social media narratives but assured the public that Guyana’s commitment remains unwavering. He highlighted statements from Venezuela expressing a lack of interest in war, emphasizing that Guyana’s primary focus is to maintain regional peace through aggressive diplomatic approaches.
President Ali also urged reliance on official government channels for updates on this matter.