No word of suspension of Suriname border talks
Stabroek News
April 10, 2003

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The Guyana government has received no indication from the Surinamese government that it has suspended talks to resolve the territorial and maritime border disputes.

This was Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally's reaction to an article in the Surinamese press that Stabroek News brought to his attention yesterday. The article quoted then acting Foreign Affairs Minister of Suriname, Ronald Assen as saying that the talks were being suspended because of Guyana's tough reaction to Suriname's publication of a map which incorporated the New River Triangle as Surinamese territory. The map was circulated to the diplomatic missions and international organisations resident in Suriname informing them that it was now the official map of Suriname.

Guyana sent a diplomatic note to Paramaribo deploring its actions and accordingly informed the missions and international organisations contacted by Suriname that Guyana's internationally recognised borders remained unchanged.

Insanally told Stabroek News too that the government, in the absence of any communication from Suriname, was proceeding with its preparations for the meeting of the national border commissions planned for late June early July.

He said too that both he and Attorney-General Doodnauth Singh SC referred to the issue in their presentations this week during the 2003 Budget debate and signalled the government's willingness to continue the discussions within the context of the national border commissions as agreed between Presidents Bharrat Jagdeo and Ronald Venetiaan during the former's visit to Suriname in January 2002. The two presidents also agreed to explore the modalities for joint exploitation and/or exploration of the disputed maritime area pending the resolution of the border issue. Singh in his presentation noted that while not making it a condition precedent, the Surinamese want both the territorial and maritime border issue resolved.

The article in the Surinamese press quoted Assen as saying, "Therefore Paramaribo took the position that no boat from that country is allowed to sail on the (Corentyne) River without permission. That is why the Navy was instructed to guard the river well."

Singh promised to check to see if the Guyanese vessels had encountered any problems plying the Corentyne River.

Assen's statement was made while President Venetiaan and Foreign Minister Marie Levens were on a visit to India and they were to discuss the issue with Vice President Jules Ajodhia on their return. Assen said too that the continuation of the border commissions' meetings would be dependent on "Guyana's attitude".

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