Special Ministerial Meeting between representatives of the Governments of Guyana and Suriname
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
The Foreign Minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, the Honourable Clement J Rohee and the Foreign Minister of Suriname the Honourable Erroll G Snijders, as well as the Minister of Natural Resources the Honourable Errol L A Alibux, accompanied by delegations comprising their respective advisors, met in an emergency session to discuss recent developments relating to the grant by Guyana of exploratory oil concessions in the area of maritime space claimed by both countries.
The Ministers agreed that these developments, if left unresolved, posed a threat to the peace and security of their respective territories. They were firmly of the view that as neighbouring territories, Guyana and Suriname had a special responsibility to settle their differences in a peaceful manner and in keeping with the principles of international law governing relations between States. They further agreed that arrangements needed to be put in place, as a matter of some urgency, to avoid any further deterioration in the relations between their two countries.
The Ministers recognized that the current dispute over the concessions granted by Guyana was directly related to the wider issue of the border problem between Guyana and Suriname. They therefore determined that steps must simultaneously be taken to address this ongoing dispute over the border between the two countries even as they sought to put in place arrangements to end the current dispute over the oil exploration concessions. In this regard, reference was made to the concession granted by Guyana to CGX.
Against this background the Ministers agreed that a Joint Technical Committee should begin working immediately. They further agreed to reconvene the Joint Meetings of the respective National Border Commissions and in keeping with the sense of urgency which the occasion demanded, determined that the next Meeting should take place no later than July 7, 2000.
In the wider context of strengthening the relations between the two countries, they also agreed that immediate steps should be taken to convene the next Meeting of the Cooperation Council in order to advance the many programmes designed to achieve that objective.
The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the results of the Meeting and were convinced that as a result of their timely action a potentially explosive situation was being brought under control. They were of the view that the several initiatives taken provided the basis for the satisfactory development of relations between Guyana and Suriname.
The Ministers were also convinced that their responsible action as members of the Caribbean Community would serve to allay any concerns which other members of the Community and indeed other members of the international community might have regarding the state of the relationship between Guyana and Suriname. In this regard, they deemed it the responsibility of both sides to ensure that the provisions of the agreements reached and the undertakings freely made during their meeting were observed both in the spirit and the letter.
The Ministers on behalf of their respective Governments and their Advisers at the meeting expressed their deep appreciation to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for facilitating the convening of this Special Meeting and for putting at their disposal facilities to ensure its success.