By Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Hard on the heels of Venezuela’s rejection of the referral of the border controversy with mutual neighbour Guyana to the World Court, the country’s deputy foreign minister for Latin America and the Caribbean, Alexander Gabriel Yanez, announced on Twitter that he had arrived “in the capital of Suriname, Paramaribo, this Thursday afternoon, and held a meeting with the foreign minister of Suriname, Ylidz Pollack-Beighle”.
The meeting was held at the headquarters of the ministry of foreign affairs in Paramaribo, where “Venezuela and Suriname strengthened ties of friendship and bilateral cooperation”, Yanez said on Twitter.
The objective of the meeting, he said was also “to continue cooperation on projects between Venezuela and Suriname”.
“In this sense, both diplomats reviewed the common work agenda and fine-tuned details for the next Mixed Commission to be held on March 1 and 2, in order to finalize agreements that raise relations between both nations to a higher level,” the Venezuelan foreign ministry reported on Thursday.
The Venezuelan diplomat also met with the permanent secretary of geopolitical affairs of Suriname, Michel G Raafenberg, when “topics of mutual interest and cooperation were addressed”.
“Venezuela and Suriname maintain relations of friendship, solidarity and cooperation on the basis of respect and equality of states. Thanks to the arrival of the Bolivarian Revolution, regional mechanisms such as PetroCaribe and ALBA-TCP have been developed that have allowed the complementarity and benefits to the peoples of the region,” Caracas narrated.
“In August 2017, the president of Suriname, Desiré Bouterse, visited the Homeland of Bolívar, where he held a meeting with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, and expressed his support for the people and government of Venezuela in the face of threats and attacks by the US empire,” Caracas continued in its press release.
Meanwhile, the previously settled century-old border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela, which was rejected by Venezuela 50 years later, has now been sent by the United Nations secretary general to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). While Caracas has rejected the secretary general’s decision, Guyana will pursue the case at The Hague and doesn’t need the consent of Caracas, since in signing the Geneva Agreement in 1966, Venezuela turned the issue over to the UN and agreed that the secretary general can send the issue to the ICJ.
“The Geneva Agreement refers to judicial settlement in accordance with Article 33 of the United Nations Charter. The last means that the Geneva Agreement and Article 33 is judicial settlement. When you speak about judicial settlement in the United Nations framework, you speak of the body established within the United Nations framework to facilitate a judicial settlement and that is the ICJ,” Guyana diplomat Cedric Joseph and several other experts said.
Suriname, which also claims parts of Guyana, has so far remained silent on the UN decision to send the Guyana/Venezuela border dispute to the ICJ. Guyana took Suriname to the ICJ to settle the maritime boundary off its Atlantic coast and engaged world renowned Harvard lawyer, Payam Akhavan. The court ruled in favour of Guyana.
Guyana has set aside US$20 million to challenge Venezuela in The Hague, and has the backing of the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) of which Surname is also a member.