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Regional News

January 02, 2007
Settlement of Guyana-Suriname maritime border dispute will improve countries' relations
Guyana's President Jagdeo's Address to the Nation

An end to the lengthy arbitration process between Guyana and its eastern neighbour Suriname to delineate the maritime boundary between the two countries will pave the way for enhanced relations for both stakeholders.

The Head of State in his address to the Nation for the New Year said, "We are confident that in the New Year we will have a settlement of the maritime border dispute with Suriname which will not only lead to improved relations with that country but also facilitate the unencumbered harvesting of our offshore natural resources."

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rudy Insanally and Director General of the Ministry, Ambassador Elisabeth Harper was in Washington for the oral pleadings of both Guyana and Suriname which commenced on December 7 at the Organization of American States' (OAS) building.

The Head of State at a press conference early last month said that the issue with Guyana's neighbour must be settled with firmness but also with dignity so that both countries' peoples can move forward in friendship with enhanced prospects for development.

He said the arbitral process was sought by Guyana to bring to an end the differences between the two countries over the maritime boundary. The dispute has undermined efforts to develop the resources associated with those off-shore areas and a deprivation which poor countries cannot afford.

Suriname laid claim to a section of Guyana's territorial sea contending that the boundary in the continental shelf and the sea lies along a line originating at a point at No. 61 Village on the left bank of the Corentyne River and bearing 10 degrees east of true north.

Guyana in disagreement with this claim, initiated the arbitral proceedings against Suriname in February 2004 in accordance with the United Nations (UN) International Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The Tribunal will determine whether tribunal has jurisdiction to decide the merits of the issue and assuming the tribunal concludes that it does have jurisdiction it will then issue its award which will consist of a boundary line from the point on the coast where the sea meets the land at the international borders for a distance of 200 miles.

The award is binding on both States and it will constitute the internationally recognised maritime boundary between Guyana and Suriname which will have the consequence of permitting each State to exploit the resources on its respective side of the boundary lines.

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