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Regional News

June 17, 2007
Tribunal decision tentatively set for August
Guyana Chronicle

President Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated that August is just a tentative date being advanced for handing down the much-anticipated ruling on the Guyana-Suriname border dispute.

Alluding to the fact that only the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, based in Hamburg, has the sole discretion and power to decide what decision to make and when to announce it, the President last week said the ruling on the case has been "shifted to a tentative date in August".

It was earlier anticipated that the decision would have been given during the first quarter or thereabout of this year but there has been some reported delay in bringing conclusion to the matter.

"The latest I heard is that it may be shifted to August of this year.and that again is a tentative date," President Jagdeo told a news conference at the Office of the President Thursday.

"We had just done an assessment of what we thought was a reasonable timeframe (and) it is now up to the tribunal," he said.

Following the forceful eviction by Suriname of the oil exploration company Canada-based CGX in June 2000, claiming that the company had encroached Surinamese territorial waters in its offshore drilling, Guyana resorted to take the matter to the tribunal after bilateral and other negotiations failed to resolve the issue in a mutually satisfactorily way.

Guyana's legal team pursuing its case at the tribunal is being spearheaded by Sir Shridath Ramphal, a former Foreign Minister; and comprises Mr. Paul Reichler of the Washington law firm of Foley Hoag and Dr. Payam Akhavan of Yale Law School.

Sir Shridath had assured that the decision of the tribunal will be binding and final, ending uncertainty on a matter which, if allowed to continue, could be detrimental to the development of natural resources and the economic development of both countries.

The Government of Guyana officially informed its Surinamese counterpart on February 24, 2004 of its decision to pursue the matter at the level of the tribunal to give a binding decision on the maritime boundary between the two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) neighbours.

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