President of Guyana, Irfaan Ali on Friday welcomed a ruling handed down by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which stated that it has jurisdiction to hear a dispute between Guyana and Venezuela over the demarcation of their land border, which may ultimately determine which has rights to offshore oil and gas fields.
“We have always stood together, we have always recognized together and demonstrated to the international community together that we are one and united not only on our sovereignty and borders. Today, this victory is no small victory. This victory is testimony to what we can achieve when we are united”, the President said.
Ali said when it comes to Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, there is no compromise.
The President, who praised Guyana’s legal team and the technical officers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their work on the matter, said that he is convinced that Guyana will get a final judgment in its favor reinforcing the 1899 Arbitral award.
“The Court’s decision means that international law can be brought to bear to ensure that Guyana’s patrimony is preserved. The law of nations can be allowed to prevail in the face of efforts that point in other directions. As a result of today’s ruling, the Court will now proceed to hear the merits of the case”.
Ali said Guyana will remain united as the case progresses before the International Court.
The matter was taken before the International Court back in 2018 under the David Granger administration.
On Friday, in a 12-4 decision, judges at the U.N. court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, found that they have jurisdiction to hear a suit brought by Guyana arguing the border was established by an 1899 arbitration between Venezuela and the then-colony of British Guiana.
Venezuela’s government had argued the international court had no jurisdiction and it prefers direct talks with Guyana over its claims to a huge, sparsely populated area west of the Essequibo River.
The court has not yet set a date for arguments on the merits of Guyana’s case.
The ICJ is the United Nations’ court for resolving disputes between states.