SAN JUAN – Guyana commemorated on Wednesday the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Agreement, an accord with Venezuela that calls for the United Nations to mediate the countries’ century-old dispute over the Essequibo region.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has “specific responsibilities” under the agreement, Guyanese President David Granger said in a statement, adding that he will ask the UN chief to intervene when he meets with him later this week in New York.
“Guyana has already signaled to him, in no uncertain terms, that we are prepared to go forward to have a juridical settlement and we are calling on him to exercise his mandate,” Granger said.
Georgetown maintains that the 1899 Tribunal Award giving Essequibo to Guyana – then a British colony – should be accepted as final and definitive.
Venezuela says the border should shift much farther to the east, through the midline of the Essequibo River.
Caracas revived the issue in the 1960s, leading ultimately to the 1966 Geneva Agreement, which mandated reconsideration of the 1899 settlement and established the possibility of mediation by the UN secretary-general.
The long-simmering territorial dispute took on new urgency last May, when a subsidiary of U.S.-based ExxonMobil announced the discovery of significant oil reserves in the waters off Essequibo.