The United States (US) on Sunday endorsed the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) decision to settle the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, in the face of calls by President Nicolas Maduro for bilateral talks to resume as a means of settlement.
Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak said his country supports the ICJ’s 12-18 ruling that it has jurisdiction in the Guyana-Venezuela border issue. Mr. Kozak added that, “is the legal and peaceful way forward.”
“Maduro’s aggressive claims don’t change this, they only show the world his disregard for his neighbors and international law,” said the top State Department official in a tweet Sunday night that was reposted by the American embassy in Guyana.
American Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, for her part, restated her country’s position that the border controversy should be settled legally. “The United States has long called for a legal peaceful resolution to Guyana’s border controversy with Venezuela and we reiterate that call today,” she said.
The US’ position came against the backdrop of President Maduro’s decree to extend its maritime boundary unilaterally to include the Atlantic waters and seabed offshore the Essequibo Region up to the eastern bank of the Essequibo River.
President Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon have separately condemned Mr. Maduro’s decree.
The Venezuelan President last week asked the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres to facilitate the resumption of bilateral dialogue with Guyana as a means of settling the border controversy.
Mr. Maduro, in his letter to the UN Secretary General, said he has the ability to revive dialogue as a way to avoid decisions outside of international legality, which can seriously jeopardize the peace and security of the region.
The ICJ has made it clear that the non-participation of a party in a case does not affect the decision and it is binding on both parties.