This latest development would come amidst tense relations between the neighbours after an oil find in waters of Guyana.
The new Government had admitted the recall of Ambassador Geoffrey da Silva.
Former Ambassador to Venezuela, Cheryl Miles, is now tipped for that position. She has served for 10 years as Ambassador to Brazil and Venezuela- the latter for seven years. She was the first female Director General of the Guyanese Foreign Ministry.
According to a statement from Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry website published Tuesday, President Nicolas Maduro during his weekly televised programme said that he decided to suspend the negotiations to grant approval for a new Guyana ambassador in Venezuela.
Maduro was incensed because Minister Greenidge allegedly used “epithets, adjectives and attacks against Venezuela” during the Florida trip where the Venezuela border controversy was discussed.
However, Minister Greenidge last evening made it clear that Guyana will not be silent. “I regret President Maduro’s fondness for broadcast diplomacy which Guyana will not follow. Guyana will not be silent where its rights under law continue to be denied. The path of peace is the path of law, and Guyana will continue to pursue it.”
The Minister addressed the Florida Conference on Current Caribbean issues hosted by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) and the Greater Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce; a Town Hall meeting for Guyanese and friends of Guyana in South Florida hosted by the Guyana Honorary Consul; a meeting with a group of maritime lawyers; a lunch hosted by the Beacon Council; an interview with a team of senior editors at the Miami Herald; and a press brunch to clearly outline the historical and recent developments regarding Venezuela’s claim and recent threats against Guyana.
In all his presentations, Minister Greenidge reportedly made it clear that the only option, to which Guyana would agree to decide whether there is any merit to the claim, is judicial settlement via the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He said that it was now up to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon “to do his job and facilitate the process towards a judicial settlement of this claim”.
However, Venezuela is opposing the judicial settlement option preferring to pursue the good offices mechanism, which Minister Greenidge said, has been tried for the past 23 years, yielding “little or no success”.
“Guyana is of the firm belief that this controversy, arising out of the Venezuelan claim that the Arbitral Award of 1899 is null and void can only be settled once and for all through the judicial process.
Before there could be any adjustment to the demarcations of our territorial and maritime boundaries the ICJ must first rule on whether the Arbitral Award of 1899 is null and void. It is Guyana’s firm view that that Award is legally binding and that the existing boundaries must remain intact,” Greenidge told a luncheon at the conference attended by diplomats, elected officials, business executives and community leaders.
Maduro, in his statement Tuesday, said that he ordered Chancellor Delcy Rodríguez, Foreign Minister of Venezuela, to halt the process of recognizing a new ambassador since it is “nonsense” to begin a process of diplomatic adjustment and suddenly go to Miami and launch a brutal attack.
Maduro emphasized that Venezuela is a nation of peace and that the claims of his nation on Essequibo are being done by way of international law and truth.
“They tried (the Government of Guyana) to disrupt and damage the relations in the Caribbean, but today our relations with that sister region enjoy good health, respect, cooperation and brotherhood.”
The Venezuelan leader insisted that his government wants relations with the Government of Guyana but it should be one based on respect.
He demanded the President of Guyana, David Granger, define its position on Venezuela. “If you want to go the way of respect, we are on the path of respect, through diplomatic channels…the only way to end.”
Maduro urged support from all Caribbean governments to end the “attacks and offense” against Venezuela, “and that the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and Venezuela reestablish relations of respect we had for years, which are the only relationships we want to have from Venezuela.”
Late last month, the Opposition warned Government to think twice about recalling its ambassador to Venezuela, Geoffrey da Silva.
Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, herself a former acting Foreign Minister, warned that Da Silva’s recall might not be such a good idea, as there is no telling when Venezuela is likely to issue its agrément or approval of the person who has been chosen.
A delay of that agrément is likely to have trade and other repercussions.
The Venezuela ambassador would have been one of the toughest for the Foreign Affairs ministry, especially in light of the controversy that sparked by that neighbouring country’s claims on Guyana.
Bilateral relations between the two countries took a turn for the worse after US-owned ExxonMobil announced in May that it had found oil in a concession offshore Guyana.
Venezuela claimed that the waters belong to that nation, a claim that Guyana is vehemently denying.
With Guyana also involved in a lucrative oil-for-rice deal with Venezuela, and da Silva playing a critical role in the arrangements, the absence of an ambassador would complicate things.
Already, Venezuela has signaled intentions to stop taking rice from Guyana after November, placing pressure of the Granger administration to find new overseas markets. The rice deal has been ongoing for over five years now.
This year, Guyana is facing a number increasing challenges, especially when it pertains to border issues, Greenidge explained to the House.
Almost $4B has been allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to help Guyana defend itself on international scene against Venezuela’s claims among other things.
Of the sum allocated to the Ministry, $2.6B covers foreign policy promotion.