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Statement by the Commonwealth Secretary-General on Guyana-Venezuela controversy

14 January 2021

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC is deeply concerned by the promulgation of a decree by Venezuela that it has sovereignty over the area adjacent to Guyana’s Essequibo coast, and other recent statements by that country regarding its border controversy with Guyana.  

The Secretary-General reiterates the Commonwealth’s unequivocal support for the maintenance and safeguarding of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Commonwealth Heads expressed their full support for the International Court of Justice as the means to be used for the settlement of the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.

Further, the most recent meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Guyana was held on 12 October 2020. The Group “welcomed the commencement of the International Court of Justice’s proceedings” and “encouraged both parties in the controversy between Guyana and Venezuela to participate in the International Court of Justice process”. In this regard, the Commonwealth Secretary-General urges that the process now under way at the International Court of Justice be respected. 

The Secretary-General added: “The entire Commonwealth family stands in solidarity with the people and Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and in support of a legally binding and peaceful resolution of this controversy.”

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