Rohee presses for resumed Guyana-Suriname talks

Stabroek News
September 30, 2000

Guyana has expressed its disappointment that formal contacts at the presidential level were not possible during the just concluded CARICOM-Canada summit in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Suriname's president, Ronald Venetiaan, did not attend the meeting, and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, told reporters yesterday at his fortnightly briefing at the GTV-11 studios, Homestretch Avenue, that contact was only possible at the level of the two foreign ministers.

However, Dr Luncheon reported that Foreign Minister, Clement Rohee, had pressed for dates to be set for a resumption of the negotiations on their maritime border dispute. Those negotiations would also entail discussions on the joint management and utilisation of the marine and other resources of the area in dispute pending the settlement of the dispute.

The talks between the two countries, under the chairmanship of Jamaica's Prime Minister PJ Patterson broke down in July in Kingston and Guyana refused to continue them until the present government took office. The Venetiaan administration took office in August and since then there has been contact between Jagdeo and Venetiaan in September in Brasilia and between Rohee and his Surinamese counterpart, Marie Levens, in New York last month.

Tensions over the border flared up in June when Surinamese patrol boats forcibly evicted an oil rig, operated by the Canadian company, CGX Energy Inc, from its drilling location in Guyana's territorial waters.

In response to public concern about the incident, which was perceived to be in part the result of the GDF Coast Guard being ill equipped to meet this challenge, the government announced its intention to recapitalise the army.

Despite numerous asseverations by government officials, no formal announcement has been made that the recapitalisation has been set in train. However, Dr Luncheon said yesterday that at the appropriate time President Jagdeo would announce the moves which have been made.

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