Suriname committed to border resolution
-Attorney-General tells National Assembly
Stabroek News
April 9, 2003

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The Suriname government wants the outstanding border issues with Guyana settled and the Suriname Border Commission is pursuing that position in discussions with the Guyana Border Commission.

That, according to Attorney-General Doodnauth Singh, is the basis for the discussions in the Guyana/ Suriname Border Commissions meetings. He told the National Assembly during yesterday's budget debate that Guyana's position concentrated "on establishing the modalities that exist in other areas of the world where there are (similar) disputes."

Guyana's position is based on the agreement between President Bharrat Jagdeo and his Surinamese counterpart President Ronald Venetiaan "to explore modalities for joint exploitation and/or exploration of the resources of overlap." The area of overlap refers to the zone offshore Guyana between a line 10 degrees east and a line 33 degrees east of a point located near the mouth of the Corentyne River.

The outstanding border issues relate to the New River Triangle, the maritime area and the Corentyne River, including the right of passage of Guyanese vessels and their personnel.

Singh described the New River Triangle as an "area of about 8000 square miles, triangular in shape and so described because of the discovery of the Corentyne River." Suriname says that there was an undertaking in the Forbes Burnham/Jules Sedney joint statement issued in April 1971 in Trinidad that both governments would withdraw their military personnel from the upper reaches of the Corentyne River.

In relation to the Corentyne River, Singh said the contention was whether the boundary between the two countries is the high water mark on the Guyana side as Suriname was claiming or a median line as was the Guyana position.

The contention he said about the maritime boundary was whether Guyana's eastern boundary of its maritime border lies on the line 10 degrees east or 33 degrees east of a point located near the mouth of the Corentyne River.

The issue of the New River Triangle blew up last month shortly after the Border Commissions meeting here when the Surinamese government wrote the diplomatic missions and international organisations resident in Paramaribo advising them that the official map of Suriname now incorporates the New River Triangle.

The Guyana government issued a note of protest to the Suriname government reminding it that the New River Triangle was Guyana's territory and advising that it must desist from such action in the future.

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