The Guyana government should soon be making proposals to the Surinamese government for a long-awaited meeting of the National Border Commissions.
The meeting should have been held in July but had to be rescheduled for one reason or another. The last rescheduling was due to the Carifesta celebrations Suriname hosted in August.
Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally told Sunday Stabroek that during his recent visit to New York to attend the meetings of the United Nations he had the opportunity to discuss the issue with his Surinamese counterpart, Marie Levens. He said that he had impressed on her that if there were any problems then the forum of the National Border Commissions meeting was the place to discuss them.
Suriname protested, following the Carifesta celebrations, that Guyanese delegates displayed maps depicting Guyana as including the New River Triangle (Guyana’s internationally recognised and accepted borders). A newspaper article quoted a Surinamese government official as saying that the border commissions meetings would not be reconvened. The next meeting of the border commissions is due to be held in Paramaribo.
Meanwhile, Minister Insanally has confirmed that the concessions along the coast of Suriname that the state-owned oil company Staatsolie, had opened to public bidding do not encroach on Guyana’s territorial waters. Another official has told Sunday Stabroek that despite its claim to the disputed maritime territory, Suriname’s oil exploration activity has not encroached on Guyana’s territory.
The border commissions’ meetings were reactivated last year following President Bharrat Jagdeo’s visit to Suriname with the mandate of setting in motion the resolution of the maritime border dispute. As part of its mandate the commissions were also asked to look at best practices for joint exploration of the marine and hydrocarbon resources in the maritime area of dispute located off the Corentyne Coast.
The proposal for joint exploration was first raised in the aftermath of Suriname’s forcible ejection of an oil rig, operated by the Canadian company CGX Resources and licensed to explore for oil offshore Guyana, from its drilling position in Guyana’s territorial waters on June 3, 2000.