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Regional News

July 25, 2004
Guyana - Suriname Dispute - Tribunal panel meets July 30 on procedures
Stabroek News

The panel of the International Tribunal of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) will meet in London on July 30 to finalise the procedures that it will adopt for the hearing of the maritime border dispute between Guyana and Suriname .

The members of the panel are Judge Dolliver Nelson (chairman), Professors Thomas Franck, nominated by Guyana and Hans Smit , nominated by Suriname , and Drs Kamal Hossain of Bangladesh and Alan Philip of Denmark .

In February after almost four years of frustrating negotiations Guyana invoked Article 287 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to obtain a legally binding resolution of the maritime border dispute with Suriname . It also asked for a number of provisional measurers including the cessation of the harassment by Surinamese authorities of Guyanese fishermen in the Corentyne River and to be allowed to explore and exploit the hydrocarbon and other resources in the area of its maritime zone that Suriname is claiming as its own.

Over many months, meetings were held in Guyana , Suriname , Trinidad , St Vincent and Jamaica to try to resolve the problem which was fuelled by Paramaribo 's armed eviction of an oil rig from Guyana 's waters in June, 2000. The last three meetings were held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister P J Patterson of Jamaica .

Following the meetings of 2001, President Bharrat Jagdeo and Surinamese President Ronald Venetiaan agreed in 2002 that their national border commissions would discuss the issue with a view to arriving at an arrangement that would allow for joint exploration and exploitation of the marine resources in the disputed area pending the determination of the dispute. Those discussions were inconclusive and as a result Guyana invoked the UNCLOS procedure.



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