The Joint Technical Committee in its examination of Agenda Item 5 recognised that the immediate origin of the current dispute was the grant by Guyana of an oil exploration concession to CGX. The Suriname side explained its action in expelling CGX from the area of its drilling operations on the grounds that the concessions granted by Guyana were in part in Suriname’s territory.

The Joint Technical Committee recognised that there were grave dangers inherent in the possible escalation of the current impasse. It recalled that the Presidents of Guyana and Suriname had in 1989 addressed a similar situation relating to the grant by Guyana of oil exploration concessions and had focussed on the dangers and its potential conflict, as well as, the possible deleterious affects on the economies of the two countries. As regards the latter they had agreed on the need for creative solutions to the problem posed by the grant of oil exploration concessions within the area of the North Eastern and North Western seaward boundaries of Guyana and Suriname and had determined that a regime for the joint utilisation of this area should be established.

In the context of devising creative solutions to the current situation the Suriname side urged that there should be an early delimitation of the maritime boundaries between the two countries. In this regard the Joint Technical Committee agreed that arrangements should be immediately set in train for putting the issue of the delimitation of the maritime boundaries on a fast track. The Joint Technical Committee accepted the proposition by the Suriname side that, without prejudice to its claim to the areas covered by the concessions already granted by Guyana, it was prepared in the spirit of good neighbourliness and in keeping with the principles agreed on by their former Presidents, to entertain the consideration of a Framework and corresponding Modalities for the joint utilisation of these areas. The Guyana side accepted this approach.

The Joint Technical Committee was of the firm view that such a Framework provided a practical basis for the immediate return to normalcy of the relations between Guyana and Suriname, including the resumption of exploration activities, and for developing the other aspects of the decision referred to above between the former Presidents.

The Joint Technical Committee agreed that elements of the Framework and the Modalities could comprise for example an intergovernmental agreement to facilitate the sharing of benefits from the existing exploration. There could also be determined what should comprise the Modalities for future exploration based on a mutuality of interests.

The Joint Technical Committee further agreed that in order to give greater technical substance to the Modalities petroleum technicians from the two sides should meet before their next Session scheduled to commence on 17 June 2000.