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Brazil calls for peaceful, ICJ-driven solution to Guyana-Venezuela territorial controversy

Brazil’s Ambassador to Guyana, Maria Clara Duclos Carisio

South America’s economic and military powerhouse, Brazil on Tuesday reiterated the need for a peaceful solution to the territorial controversy between Guyana and Venezuela through diplomacy and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Normally,what we are in favour is that we need a peaceful solution and especially that both sides recognise the jurisdiction which Venezuela doesn’t do, but anyway the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice to deal with this,” Brazil’s Ambassador to Guyana, Maria Clara Duclos Carisio told Demerara Waves Online News.

Coming less than one month after Venezuela warned that it would “apply all the necessary measures” to prevent foreign oil companies from operating in oil blocks in Guyanese waters, and that Venezuelans would be voting in a consultative referendum to ratify the defense of their sovereign territory against the aggressions of the American empire, the Brazilian envoy indicated that there was no place for threats.

“We will not support any unilateral solution or unilateral, let us say threats for solving this problem,” she said, adding that Brazil’s position is in sync with many other countries in the Americas. The Organisation of American States’ General Secretariat and the Caribbean Community have all criticised Venezuela’s threats and reaffirmed Guyana’s right to its resources.

The Brazilian Ambassador cited the need for the ICJ decision on Guyana’s case concerning the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award is not challenged or disregarded. “The only thing is that we need to guarantee that the jurisdictional solution would be accepted by all,” she said. Guyana is on record as committing to respect the ICJ’s decision regardless of the outcome, though at this point it maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award represents the full, final and perfect settlement of the land boundary with Venezuela.

Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett

With Venezuela now indicating its intent to join Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping, Ambassador Duclos Carisio said that would not change Brazil’s position on the territorial controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. “There is no difference for Brazil independent under the government or we change the government, there is no big difference concerning the position that Brazil has that Guyana and Venezuela have to solve this problem by diplomacy and international law. There is no change in that. This is the way we think the problem has to be solved,” she said.

Venezuela in recent days called on President Irfaan Ali to participate in bilateral talks with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicholas Maduro in a Caribbean nation as a means of settling the dispute, but Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that her country would stick by the provisions of the 1966 Geneva Agreement for the territorial controversy to be settled by the ICJ. “Guyana will not agree to any procedure that contradicts the express provisions of the Geneva Agreement and bypasses the Court, which is the only means of settlement that is now authorized by Article IV of that Agreement,” she said in her right of reply.

Ambassador Rodrigues-Birkett also scoffed at Venezuela’s claim that the United States was planning to establish a military base in the Essequibo Region which Venezuela claims as hers. “The intelligence of the international community should not be insulted by Venezuela’s allegations that Guyana is allowing its territory to be used as a platform for military aggression against any State including the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” she said.

The border row erupted earlier this month in response to Guyana auctioning several offshore oil blocks, a process that Venezuela rejects and says should only be done with Venezuela’s permission because the maritime boundary has not been fixed.