Guyana upbeat on UN tribunal ruling

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, July 30, 2007 – Guyana is looking forward to a ruling by the U.N. tribunal next month on a feud with neighboring Suriname.

The country’s foreign minister, Rudy Insanally, said over the weekend that the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is set to rule soon over the issue of Suriname’s ownership claims to an undersea basin in the New River Triangle.

The basin is said to be rich with oil but both countries cannot seem to reach an agreement over sharing any production from the area.

“We are led to believe, after speaking to our legal teams, that the award by the tribunal is likely to be made in August,” Insanally said in a statement.

On February 25, 2004, the government of Guyana invoked arbitration against its neighboring coastal state, Suriname. An arbitration panel was subsequently set up. The disputed area h has gained significant international attention since the Suriname navy evicted a Guyanese-licensed oil platform in June 2000.

Meanwhile, Insanally also said Saturday that Guyana continues to receive support from its regional colleagues to resolve its other border controversy – this one with Venezuela. There has been a hiatus in the issue, since the death of Oliver Jackman the Good Officer appointed by the United Nations.

The onus is on the two countries to find a way forward since this development requires both countries to be in communication to chart the course for resolution, Minister Insanally said.

A map of British Guiana published in 1840 started a controversy between the two countries. Venezuela protested, claiming the entire area west of the Essequibo River was its territory. Negotiations between Britain and Venezuela over the boundary began, but the two nations could reach no compromise.

Since then negotiations and diplomatic exchanges have been ongoing to induce a favorable resolution. (