GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC - The Guyana government has sought to clarify a statement made by Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues Birkett regarding relating to recent remarks made by Suriname regarding the invasion of the country.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Rodrigues Birkett said the Bharrat Jagdeo government had alerted the regional and international community to the recent remarks made by Suriname.
She told Parliament that inflammatory statements from official and unofficial sources should not signal a return to “an adventurous posture” by the Republic of Suriname.
“The use of force would indeed be a breach of international law that will require Guyana to take action to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Rodrigues Birkett said.
But a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday night sought to make it clear that the remarks by the Minister was not geared towards the current government in Suriname.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to reiterate that it was a former President of Suriname who publicly stated that he had given instructions for the invasion of Guyana’s territory, but that those instructions were aborted because his government had come to the end of its term in office,” the statement said.
“At no time did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs insinuate or state that it was the current President or Government in Suriname that had given its military instructions to invade Guyana’s territory.
“The Government of Guyana has however called on the current Government of Suriname to publicly state its opposition to the use of, or threat of the use of force as an option in its policies towards Guyana,” the Foreign Affairs statement concluded.
Both Guyana and Suriname are members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the regional integration grouping.
The Guyana government said that the Tri-Junction agreement reached in 1936 and involving Brazil,Suriname and Guyana, recognises the boundary as being on the headwaters of the Cutari River, thereby recognising the new River Triangle as being within the sovereign territory of Guyana.
The Foreign Minister told Parliament on Monday that in spite of the act, successive Surinamese governments have sought to take possession of Guyanese territory, including of an armed invasion in 1969 ending with the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) expelling the Surinamese military from the area.
Reference was made by the Foreign Affairs Minister to the public statements reported in the Surinamese press confirming that in the year 2000, the Surinamese government plotted to invade the new river triangle during the time when Guyana’s exclusive economic zone was violated and the CGX rig was forcibly removed from the Guyanese waters.
“Such an act, would have also been in breach of international law just as the tribunal that heard the maritime dispute between Guyana and Suriname ruled that the removal of the CGX rig by Suriname and I quote ‘constituted a threat of the use of force in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Charter and general International law,” Rodrigues Birkett said.