Following the conclusion of the agreement between the Government of Guyana and CGX. Energy Inc. to pursue petroleum exploration activity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana received a Note Verbale dated May 11, 2000 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Suriname expressing the concern of the Government of Suriname that the Government of Guyana "in cooperation with one or more private oil/holding companies is conducting exploration/exploitation activities in the North West Offshore area within the territory of the Republic of Suriname".

The Government of Suriname further communicated its ‘conviction’ that the Corentyne River is "an integral part of the Surinamese territory and that therefore all the activities on this river fall within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Suriname". Further, grave concern was expressed "with regard to economic activities and acts of control in the area concerned by or with the consent of the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana".

The Government of Suriname sought clarification as to whether there were any such activities taking place in the area concerned and that in the event that there were, "the Government of the Republic of Suriname would expect an immediate termination of such activities, in conformity with the internationally accepted principle of territorial integrity".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana by Note Verbale dated May 17, 2000 conveyed to the Government of Suriname a response that contained the following elements:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs handed over the Note to the Ambassador of Suriname on May 17, 2000.

During those discussions, the Minister of Foreign Affairs recalled that the Government of Guyana had always encouraged Suriname to come to an understanding based on the text of the original agreement on joint exploration and exploitation of the area of overlap which had been formulated during the Administrations of former Presidents Hoyte and Shankar.

On May 31, 2000 the Ambassador of Guyana was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Suriname to meet with the Foreign Minister who handed to him a Note dated May 31, 2000 which conveyed the following:

The response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana contained in Note Verbale dated June 2, 2000 stated the position of the Government of Guyana as follows: Immediately thereafter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana was compelled to issue a strong protest that was conveyed in a Note Verbale dated June 3, 2000 to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Suriname. This was as a result of the incursion of Guyana’s airspace and territorial waters and the removal by force by the Surinamese authorities of the oil rig owned by CGX Resources Inc from where it was located at Eagle.

The Note Verbale stated inter alia that:

The President of Guyana dispatched a letter dated June 3, 2000 to the Chairman of Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis to bring to his attention the situation which had arisen between Guyana and Suriname.

In his letter, HE the President highlighted the lack of good faith on the part of Suriname, since the actions which the Government of that country had taken, were executed while he was in contact with President Wijdenbosch and while Foreign Minister Rohee was negotiating with his Surinamese counterpart on an agreeable date and time for a meeting between the two sides with a view to finding a peaceful and mutually acceptable resolution of our differences on the matter.

The President of Guyana also recalled the discussions held by Heads of Government in consideration of Suriname’s application for membership of the Caribbean Community at the Sixth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government held in Belize from February 16 to 17, 1995. He further recalled that the Conference at that meeting:

"Approved the application by Suriname for membership in the Caribbean Community and Common Market on the terms and conditions recommended by the Technical Group and accepted by Suriname;

Agreed that the approval of Suriname’s application takes effect from the Sixteenth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government;

Urged that in the interim, Member States and the Secretariat make every effort towards the resolution of the Suriname-Guyana border controversy as well as other outstanding difficulties which impede the development of relations between the two countries;

Also agreed that following the approval of Suriname’s application, these efforts be maintained with a view to persuading Suriname as a Member of the Community and the Common Market to develop with Guyana, the type of relations appropriate to Member States." (Note: Emphasis added).

In light of these decisions, the President of Guyana advised that he was writing to:

Three sets of meetings were held between Guyana and Suriname.

The first Special Ministerial Meeting was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on June 6, 2000. That meeting agreed that:

On June 8, 2000 the President of Guyana held a media conference to brief the nation on developments on the situation.

The President was "heartened by the spontaneous and united response of the Guyanese people in defence of our sovereign territory and the nation’s interest".

He reiterated that "Guyana has always viewed as important the development of harmonious, peaceful and productive relations with its neighbours.

He assured the citizens of Guyana however, that his Government "will not accept any threats of, or the resort to, the use of force by any external actor against this nation state. My Government stands firm on the maintenance of Guyana’s sovereignty and will take whatever action necessary to preserve and protect its territorial integrity".

On June 9, 2000 the Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community issued a statement on behalf of the Community which welcomed "the process of dialogue to which the two Parties have resorted" and expressed "the hope that they will find, through that constructive approach, a mutually satisfactory solution to the current difficulties."

The Statement went on to say that "the Community and its various institutions stand ready, within their capacity, to provide to the two Parties whatever assistance they may require in the resolution of their current difficulties".

The second series of meetings between Guyana and Suriname were held in Georgetown, Guyana over the period June 13 and 14, 2000 at the Technical and Ministerial level.

Suriname proposed that Guyana revokes the licence to CGX and that Suriname in turn would re-issue the licence.

Guyana proposed joint sharing of the resources and rejected the Surinamese proposal regarding the revocation of the licence to CGX.

This meeting was inconclusive. Suriname was presented with the "Basic Elements of the Guyana Proposal" which in effect was formulated on the basis of the proposals put forward to the Suriname delegation in Trinidad and Tobago.

The third round of meetings was held in Paramaribo, Suriname from June 17 to 18, 2000. Among the proposals which Guyana put forward were:

Following the inability of the two sides to reach a mutually acceptable solution at the final round of meetings, President Jagdeo received an invitation from President Wijdenbosch to discuss the issue.

While President Jagdeo welcomed the invitation, he requested President Wijdenbosch to submit new proposals before such a meeting took place.

At the request of the Government of Guyana, the current difficulties between Guyana and Suriname were discussed at the Sixth Meeting of the Community Council of Ministers in Barbados on June 19, 2000.

Guyana recalled the decisions of the 1995 Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Heads of Government and requested that Suriname be requested to uphold those decisions. Further, that Suriname should be requested to desist from the use of force to resolve any outstanding matters with Guyana and that the Heads of Government should discuss the matter in the spirit of the 1995 decision adopted by the Conference.

The Community Council decided to "recall the statement issued by the Chairman of the Conference and has recommended that the Heads of Government at their meeting in July 2000, consider discussing the matter bearing in mind the spirit of the 1995 decision of the Conference.

The Government of Guyana has formally requested that the developments in the relations between Guyana and Suriname be placed on the agenda of the Twenty-First Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community scheduled to be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines from July 2 to 5, 2000.

On June 23, 2000 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs despatched a Note Verbale to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Suriname protesting the violation of Guyana’s airspace by a Surinamese Defence Aircraft over the New River Area at approximately 09:59 hours and at approximately 10:22 hours on Thursday June 22, 2000.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it viewed this as a provocation on the part of the Surinamese authorities especially in view of statements issued in support of the peaceful resolution of disputes by the Chairman of CARICOM, the international community and contrary to assurances given by the Surinamese delegation at the Third Special Ministerial Meeting convened in Paramaribo, Suriname on June 17 and 18, 2000.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted that the Government of Suriname desist from conducting these intrusions into Guyana’s airspace and reiterated the determination of the Government of Guyana to protect and defend its territorial integrity.