Recently, the Government of the Republic of Suriname has been questioning Guyana's rights to access to the Corentyne River and by extension the off-shore resources.

Suriname's contention was communicated to Guyana by diplomatic Note dated May 11, 2000. Guyana responded to the Government of Suriname by way of an official note on May 17, 2000. Guyana assured the Government of Suriname that it had not violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country and reiterated its position as regards the Corentyne River and the off-shore area.

In this connection the official note from the Government of Guyana to the Government of Suriname states inter-alia:

"The Ministry wishes to state that any exploration / exploitation which may be in progress at the present time with the permission or at the instance of the Government of Guyana, is being conducted in the territory of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana".

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also wishes to reiterate that the Corentyne River is a border river and as such attracts all the characteristics and features which such rivers bear in international law. The Government of Guyana still subscribes to the view that the resources of the Corentyne River ought to be explored and exploited for the economic benefit of the peoples of both countries".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to advise that it is inaccurate to assert that Guyana did not respond to the Government of Suriname. The facts are that the Surinamese Ambassador to Guyana was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, May 17, 2000 and handed an official note containing the response from the Government of Guyana.

The Government of Guyana deplores the position taken by the Government of Suriname and is cognizant of the serious damage this position adopted by the Government of Suriname, can inflict on the good neighbourly relations existing between the peoples of Guyana and Suriname.

During the State Visit to the Republic of Suriname in 1994 by His Excellency the Late President Cheddi Jagan, it was agreed that the meetings of the National Border Commissions would be resuscitated to facilitate timely consultations and to establish a basis for a resolution of the dispute. In spite of several initiatives from Guyana the meetings of the Commissions have not been resuscitated.

In the Government of Guyana's official note of May 17, 2000 the call was again made for the National Border Commission to meet as soon as possible.

In this regard, the official note of the Government of Guyana stated:

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana wishes to recommend that the Guyana and Suriname National Border Commissions reconvene at the earliest opportunity to continue deliberations on issues relating to developments in the Corentyne area".

As of yesterday, June 1, 2000 the Government of Suriname did not respond officially to this recommendation.

In a second note despatched to the Government of Suriname today, June 2, 2000, the Government of Guyana further clarified its position in respect of the Corentyne River and the offshore area viz;

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state the position of the Government of Guyana regarding the location of the common maritime boundary between Guyana and Suriname as follows: It is the view of the Government of Guyana that the common boundary commences at the intersection of the

seaward prolongation of the N 10 E line between two concrete marks on the Guyana mainland with the line of mean low water springs and extends thence seawards along the line of equidistance to the outer limit of Guyana's continental shelf, i.e. 200 nautical miles from Guyana's baseline, and beyond to the outer limit of Guyana's potential extended continental shelf."

The Government of Guyana reiterated the need for both sides to enter into dialogue aimed at information sharing, building confidence and removing irritants to the good neighbourly relations.

In this regard, the Government of Guyana has extended an invitation to the Government of Suriname to send a high level delegation to Guyana within twenty four (24) hours to commence dialogue on these and other related matters.

June 2, 2000


Today, June 3, 2000, the Government of Guyana lodged a strong protest with the Government of Suriname for violating Guyana's airspace and territorial waters.

The protest was contained in an official note handed to the Surinamese Ambassador to Guyana H.E. Mr. Humphrey Hasrat who was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 3.15 this afternoon.

The Government of Guyana has also protested Suriname's intimidatory and hostile actions against CGX Resources Inc. a Canadian based Petroleum Company preventing them from carrying out their legitimate drilling operations within Guyana's maritime boundary and forcing them to relocate to another prospecting area within their concession.

The violation of Guyana's airspace and territorial waters took place on Friday, June 2, 2000 at 09:50 hours and 15:00 hours

respectively and today Saturday, June 3rd at 00:25 and 12:00 hours respectively at the site of CGX's oil drilling operations.

These hostile and intimidatory actions by the Surinamese Navy posed a serious threat to the lives of CGX's personnel and property while they were conducting their legitimate activities within Guyana's Maritime boundary.

The Government of Guyana has called on the Government of Suriname to desist from committing further hostile activities within its territorial jurisdiction.

The Government of Guyana finds unacceptable the lack of good faith on the Suriname side since these actions actually took place even while consultations were taking place at the highest political level with a view to defusing the situation and finding a mutually acceptable date and venue for a meeting between the two sides.

Today, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Police Force and the Geology and Mines Commission met for a second round of consultations with His Excellency The President. Later, Foreign Minister Clement Rohee together with the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Police Force, Geology & Mines Commission at separate encounters, briefed representatives of political parties as well as representatives from the United States Embassy, Canadian High Commission, the European Delegation and the British High Commission.

The Government of Guyana has reaffirmed its support for the activities of CGX Resources Inc in Guyana. It has also pledged to do its utmost to ensure that no harm comes to the personnel and property of the Canadian Petroleum company while they are carrying out their legitimate activities in Guyana's territorial waters.

The Government of Guyana takes this opportunity to reiterate the position declared by His Excellency The President Bharrat Jagdeo at the Guyana Defence Force's Annual Officers Conference in May that "Guyana will maintain a strong diplomatic offensive and will be prepared, at the military level to protect its borders"

As a member of the Group of 77 and Caricom, Suriname's actions are in gross contradiction to the position reflected in the Declaration adopted at the South Summit held in Havana which called inter alia; "for restraint in international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any State as one of the principles which continue to be the foundation for friendly and peaceful relations among States and for the solution of disputes and conflicts by peaceful means."

The Government of Guyana is committed to promoting friendly and good neighbourly relations with Suriname as with all its neighbours.

In this regard, meetings of the Guyana-Suriname National Border Commissions, and the Guyana Suriname Cooperation Council must be immediately reconvened and reinvigorated with a sense of dynamism and purposefulness.

It is hoped that the high level meeting to be convened in Trinidad and Tobago within a few days will lay the basis for a constructive approach to a resolution of the current controversy and put back on track the tried and tested mechanisms for the promotion and enhancement of Guyana-Suriname relations.

JUNE 3, 2000


The eleven-man delegation representing the Government of Guyana returned from Port of Spain today where they met with a high level delegation from the Republic of Suriname.

The meeting was convened on Guyana's initiative to find a solution to the dispute that arose between the two countries following Suriname's use of force to remove the CGX owned oil rig from within Guyana's Maritime boundary which Suriname says, is in an area of Maritime Space claimed by Suriname.

At the meeting, Guyana made its position clear on the following matters:

(1) the CGX owned rig was conducting legitimate activities within Guyana's Maritime boundary;

(2) Guyana considers as hostile and unfriendly, the unnecessary use of force by Suriname resulting in the removal of the CGX oil rig from its original location.

(3) that the use of force to settle a dispute between neighbouring countries both of whom are Member States of CARICOM is unacceptable and inconsistent with internationally accepted principles for the settlement of disputes between States;

(4) Guyana will use all the resources at its disposal to protect and defend its territorial integrity and

national sovereignty; (5) the CGX rig must be allowed to return unhindered to its original location

To facilitate the latter demand, both sides have agreed that certain steps will be taken with an established time frame agreed upon by the two sides. Guyana has proposed a date for the completion of this process.

In order to establish a framework to enable the return of the CGX rig to its original location, a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was handed to the Suriname delegation for consideration by Guyana.

The Surinamese delegation agreed to respond to the draft MOU within a time agreed to by the two sides.

The Guyana delegation conveyed its concern and gave notice to the Surinamese side as regards the complications and further deterioration of the situation that would arise with the non-implementation, and/or non-expeditious approach to its request for an early agreement on the MOU to facilitate the return of the CGX oil rig to its original location.

The Guyana delegation reaffirmed it commitment to the need for both countries to work for the peaceful settlement of the dispute.

A copy of the Joint Communique agreed to by both delegations is attached.

JUNE 7, 2000



June 08,2000

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media:

I am heartened by the spontaneous and united response of the Guyanese people in defence of our sovereign territory and the nation’s interest as a result of sudden hostile action on our eastern border with the Republic of Suriname.

In 1998 our Government granted a licence to CGX Resources Incorporated to conduct offshore petroleum exploration in Guyana.

Since the concession was granted, CGX commenced mobilization of resources including funding from capital markets. From information at our disposal, on-site evaluations revealed substantial oil deposits in targeted areas within the Guyana concession. CGX positioned its rig in the concession in preparation for drilling. I want to make it very clear that the rig was located within Guyana’s maritime boundaries as stipulated in the 1977 Maritime Boundaries Act of Guyana.

The Republic of Suriname issued a diplomatic Note on May 11 contending that exploration activities were being conducted within its territory. Suriname sought clarification on the issue and requested "immediate termination" of the exploration activities. Our response on May 17 was that the exploration in progress was being conducted in the territory of Guyana.

In a subsequent Note dated May31, the Government of Suriname claimed that the petroleum exploration activity "constituted an illegal act" and invited Guyana for talks " "in order to clarify any misunderstanding on the maritime boundary."

In our response on June2, we again reiterated that the exploration activities were being conducted in the territory of Guyana. We informed Suriname that Guyana remained "favourably disposed to engage in dialogue either at the bilateral or multilateral levels with a view to addressing any misunderstandings that may exist on the side of the Surinamese Government concerning the common maritime boundary between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Suriname."

That day, June2, I received a telephone call from my colleague President Wijdenbosch. After a cordial exchange of views, we agreed that the issue should be resolved urgently and that our Foreign Ministers should be in immediate contact. Guyana immediately dispatched a diplomatic Note inviting Suriname to meet within twenty-four hours.

I must stress here, my deep disappointment over the fact that while consultations were taking place at the highest levels of Government between Guyana and Suriname with a view to diffusing this issue, Suriname violated the territorial integrity of Guyana by intruding in our airspace and territorial waters on four occasions on June 2 and 3 at the site of CGX’s oil drilling operation.

CGX was forced to move from its original location out of concern for the welfare and safety of its personnel on board the rig in the face of the hostile and intimidatory action carried out by Suriname.

Guyana immediately lodged a strong protest with the Government of Suriname for violating its airspace and territorial waters and called on the Government of Suriname to desist from committing further hostile acts.

I also immediately dispatched a letter to the Chairman of the Conference of Heads of government of the Caribbean community, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas of St Kitts and Nevis informing him of these developments. In my letter, I further protested the aggressive actions by Suriname and requested that the community be alerted to this situation. I urged that Member States be reminded of the decision taken by the Heads of government at their 1995 Intersessional Meeting in Belize on the application by Suriname for membership of the community.

That decision states that the Heads of Government agreed,

" Member States and the secretariat make every effort towards the resolution of the Guyana – Suriname border controversy as well as other outstanding difficulties which impede the development of relations between the two countries". The Heads also agreed that following "the approval of Surinam’s application, these efforts be maintained with a view to persuading Suriname as a member of the Community and Common Market to develop with Guyana, the type of relations appropriate to Member States".

I requested Prime Minister Douglas to use his good office as Chairman of the Community to take whatever action he deems appropriate at the political and diplomatic levels consistent with the decision of the Heads."

As you are aware, a Communiqué was issued following the Special Ministerial meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Guyana and Suriname in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago which was held on June 6, 2000.

Guyana’s immediate objective is to allow the CGX oilrig to return unhindered to its original location. The representatives of Suriname have undertaken to respond by Tuesday, June 13, 2000 and we look forward to receiving their response.

At my request the Foreign Minister briefed the Political Parties in Parliament on June 3. We will continue tom keep al interested parties and Social Partners informed and involved.

I wish to reiterate that Guyana has always viewed as important the development of harmonious, peaceful and productive relations with its neighbours. Let me underscore the need for friendly relations between Guyana and Suriname which should be conducted on the basis of understanding and mutual respect within the context of the rules and principles of international law. However, I would like to assure the citizens of Guyana, that my 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.

Again, I wish to thank the Guyanese people for their demonstration of unity and support on this issue.

Office of the President


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to express its deep concern at reports emanating from Suriname both at the official level and through the media that the Government of Guyana may be reneging on the provisions of the agreement reached during the recently concluded Special Ministerial Meeting between representatives of the Governments of Guyana and Suriname which was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 6 June 2000. The Ministry regards such reports as mischievous since they do not reflect the clear determination of the Government of Guyana to bring the current impasse with the Government of Suriname to an early and satisfactory conclusion.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to draw attention to the fact that on every possible occasion during the current impasse the President of the Republic of Guyana and Senior Officers of the Government of Guyana including the Minister of Foreign Affairs have made it clear that by its action in ordering the CGX rig to abandon its operations Suriname has violated Guyana’s territorial sovereignty. In its Press Release of 7 June 2000 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in clear and unequivocal terms restated Guyana’s position on this issue.

It was against this background that Ministers of both Governments met in the Special Session in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 6 June 2000. The opportunity of the Special Meeting was once again taken to restate Guyana’s position.

The Joint Communique, which was issued at the conclusion of that Meeting, represented agreement on a series of actions designed to bring under control "a potentially explosive situation". These arrangements, set against a background of some urgency, included an agreement to establish a Joint Technical Committee which would begin working immediately on arrangements to end the dispute over the oil exploration concessions. In this regard reference was made to the concession granted by Guyana to CGX.

In rejecting the statements from Suriname referred to earlier the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to point out that it has already sent to Suriname the names of the officials who will comprise Guyana’s side of the Joint Technical Committee. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also wishes to point out that during the discussions at the Special Meeting, the Suriname Representative undertook to inform the Government of Guyana by June 13, 2000 what further steps were envisaged to ensure the unhindered return of the CGX rig.

In light of the foregoing it is difficult to understand the basis for the reports emanating from Suriname. Indeed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to make it clear that the Government of Guyana stands fully behind the responsibility it undertook along with Suriname "to ensure that the provisions in the agreement and the undertakings freely made during their meeting were observed both in the spirit and the letter.

Meanwhile, in consonance with its diplomatic offensive, the Minister of Foreign Affairs met today with CARICOM Secretary General for consultations in connection with President Jagdeo’s letter to Prime Minister Douglas, Chairman of the Community.

Minister Rohee also met with representatives of the Diplomatic Corps resident in Georgetown to brief them on latest developments on the controversy following the Special Ministerial in Trinidad and Tobago.

June 9, 2000


  As agreed by the Special Ministerial Meeting between representatives of the Governments of Guyana and Suriname held in Trinidad and Tobago last week, the Joint Technical Committee will meet in Georgetown from June 13 to14, 2000 at Herdmanston House.

The delegation of Suriname will arrive in Guyana on June 13.

At the invitation of the Honourable Clement J. Rohee, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Liakat E. Albux Minister of Natural Resources and Finance and the Honourable Errol G. Snijders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Suriname will also be travelling to Georgetown.

The Technical Committee will meet to discuss modalities for the treatment of exploration and exploitation activities in the area of the North Eastern and North Western seaward boundaries of Guyana and Suriname, respectively. It is expected that these modalities will also cover the concession granted to CGX Resources Inc.

Guyana remains committed to a peaceful resolution of the current situation with Suriname. It is hoped that the discussions over the two days will lead to a solution of the problem that will be acceptable to both Guyana and Suriname.

The opportunity will be taken for a courtesy call to be paid on the Acting President by Ministers Alibux and Snijders. Discussions will also be held with Minister Rohee.

The Suriname delegation for the Meeting of the Joint Technical Committee will include:
Hon. Liakat E. Alibux Minister of Natural Resources & Finance 
Hon. Erroll G. Snijders Minister of Foreign Affairs & Defence 
Ambassador Henk Alimahomed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Mrs. Eudya van Frederikslust-Kamp Senior Official Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Mr. E. Fitz Jim  Advisor
Mr. Idris Taus  Ministry of Natural Resources
Mr. Eric Tjon Kie Sim  Advisor
Lt. Col. Jerry Slijngaard Ministry of Defence
Mr. Carla Simons Translator
Mr. Borger Breeveld Advisor
Mr. J. Djojomoenawi Ministry of Defence
Guyana's delegation will include:  
Hon. Clement J. Rohee Minister of Foreign Affairs
Donald Abrams  Ambassador, Director of the Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Rudolph Collins  Ambassador, Consultant Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Elisabeth Harper Ambassador, Director, Department of the Americas and Asia 
Col. Chibulall Ramsaroop Guyana Defence Force
Commander Gary Best Coast Guard Guyana Defence Force 
Mr. Brian Sucre  Commissioner Guyana Geology and Mines 
Mr. Newell Dennison  Manager, Petroleum Division Guyana Geology and Mines Commission 
Mr. R. Jaggarnauth  Technical Adviser 
Rashleigh Jackson Advisor
Dr Barton Scotland  Consultant


JUNE 12, 2000

The Government of Guyana has responded with a diplomatic note to Government of Suriname informing that no Guyana Defence Force aircraft overflew any location in the District of Nickerie on June 9, 2000.

The Government of the Republic of Suriname by way of a diplomatic note dated June 10 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Suriname informed, inter alia, that Guyana Defence Force aircraft violated Surinamese airspace by flying over a Surinamese airport and residential area located in the District of Nickerie on June 8, 9, and 10, 2000.

By way of Diplomatic Note dated June 12, 2000, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Guyana rejected the charges about violations of Surinamese airspace and informed the Government of Suriname that the Guyana Defence Force conducted reconnaissance flights of the Corentyne River and its estuary on June 6, 8 and 10, 2000.

The Government of Guyana has reiterated its continued commitment to the basic tenets of the Joint Communique issued in Port-of-Spain at the Special Ministerial Meeting, which in its view, is consistent with the statement by the Chairman of Caricom, urging a peaceful solution through a process of dialogue and a constructive approach to the current dispute.

JUNE 13, 2000.



JUNE 18, 2000

It is with a deep sense of disappointment and sadness that Guyana leaves Suriname without reaching any agreement with the Surinamese authorities on the controversy that has arisen due to the forced removal of the CGX rig from its original location in Guyana’s maritime boundary on Saturday June 3, 2000.

This situation will undoubtedly leave a bitter taste in the mouths of all Guyanese people having been deprived by their neighbour of a vital opportunity to enjoy the benefits from a major investment which would have contributed substantially to the economic and social development of Guyana.

Eleven years ago, having recognised from both a historical and contemporary standpoint that the area in dispute has potential for problems, Suriname and Guyana drew up a road map indicating the way forward for a peaceful resolution of the dispute and for the joint utilization of the resources to the benefit of the two countries.

Unfortunately, due to a combination of factors both of an external and internal nature, and further, notwithstanding the persistent efforts by Guyana to proceed together with Suriname on the path to cooperation and development, many obstacles were placed along the way without any significant progress being made.

Guyana has always extended a hand of friendship and cooperation to Suriname. The highpoint of this disposition was the statesmanlike and generous stand taken by Guyana at the Sixth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community held in Belize in 1995 under the Chairmanship of the then late President Dr Cheddi Jagan, when Guyana declared its support to admit Suriname as a full member of the Community.

Moreover, Guyana’s persistent efforts, its proactive and supportive role in the Guyana/Suriname Cooperation Council, the Guyana Suriname National Border Commissions, and the Guyana Suriname Multidisciplinary Technical Team are all living testimony to Guyana’s commitment to deepen functional cooperation with Suriname.

It is indeed regrettable that Suriname as a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, the Association of Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and China, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, the Treaty of Amazonian Cooperation and the Organisation of Islamic States would adopt such an obstructionist stand against Guyana a sister neighbouring state, who like Suriname, is making every effort to reduce poverty, create more jobs and raise the standard of living of their people.

Moreover, for Suriname to justify the use of force to settle a dispute with its neighbour and further, to view the forced eviction of the CGX rig as an act of revenge in light of and in response to the action taken in 1969 by Guyana in removing a number of civilian and military personnel occupying that part of the territory of Guyana known as the New River Triangle is to add insult to injury.

It is incontrovertible that the New River Triangle has always been within the boundaries of Guyana and under the sovereignty of the Government of Guyana and this was repeatedly acknowledged to be so by the Government of the Netherlands.

Ever since, these talks began, Guyana adopted a firm but flexible approach based on friendship, cooperation and mutual respect. In this regard, we have made a number of constructive proposals at every stage of these negotiations. Among those proposals were:

(1) that the two sides return to the spirit of the Hoyte/Shankar Agreement, the Jackson/Sedoc Agreed Minutes and the Kolader/Grant Memorandum of Understanding which together created the environment and the prospects not only for a peaceful resolution to a potential area for problems but also for the joint utilization of the resources in the area of dispute for the benefit of both the Surinamese and Guyanese people.(2) placing the settlement of our maritime border dispute on the fast track (3) reactivating the Joint Meetings of the National Border Commission of Guyana and Suriname and the Guyana/Suriname Cooperation Council.
  1. The official designation by both Suriname and Guyana of the disputed area as a Special Zone for Sustainable Development to be jointly managed by a Guyana/Suriname Mixed Authority to jointly manage and exploit the disputed resources in the area for the mutual benefit of the two countries pending the settlement of our maritime boundaries by peaceful means. Both Governments may wish to include representatives of Regional or International Institutions to serve on the Authority.
Up to the time of speaking, we have not had any positive response to these proposals. What we keep hearing ad nauseum is that "these issues are very complex and that they need to be studied".

Further we wish to place on record that to date Guyana is still awaiting a clear and unambiguous response from the Government of Suriname about its request to have the rig return to its position at Eagle.

Suriname’s response by submitting a counter-proposal demanding that Guyana abandons its licence granted to CGX Resources Inc. and that Suriname in turn, will issue the licence is totally unacceptable and in effect would mean the following:

  1. placing the CGX investment effectively in the hands of the Surinamese authorities and leaving Guyana out in the cold.
  2. Surrendering our territorial claim to the maritime area in dispute
  3. De-recognising our official maritime boundary and Boundary Act of 1977
  4. Weakening our case legally should Guyana chose in the future to seek recourse to international arbitration to settle its Maritime boundary.
 The Guyanese people will find great discomfort with any arrangement which compromises their country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty. Indeed such a proposal does not help to heal the hurt which our people felt when Suriname used gun boats to achieve an objective, an objective which could have been achieved through a negotiated settlement.

It has therefore now become clear that Suriname has no intention to facilitate the return of the rig to its original location. In fact, every attempt has been made to introduce a host of issues which have no direct relevance to the incident associated with the rig and its forced removal from within Guyana’s maritime jurisdiction.

Further, we have recognized and experienced what was an all out attempt to drag out these talks with the aim of frustrating CGX Resources Inc. and eventually forcing them to walk away from the investment.

Further, we would like to place on record our deep disappointment as regards the methodology used for discussing a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) non-paper submitted for consideration by the Surinamese side yesterday, June 17 2000.

The Surinamese side submitted the first draft of the said document at approximately 5.00 p.m yesterday afternoon. After the Guyana delegation submitted their amendments to the document, the Surinamese side then called for an adjournment at approximately 7.30 p.m. indicating that they would need to consult on Guyana’s recommendations claiming that those recommendations ‘deviated’ from the draft non paper.

At 9.30 p.m, during a visit from Ministers Alibux and Snijders, I received a copy of a document which I later understood was a second draft of the first non paper. I later discovered that my delegation never saw this second draft. That was about 10.45 p.m.

I requested time of the Ministers to consult with my delegation on the matter. In the course of that consultation, we drew up a number of comments and amendments to that document. Approximately one hour later, Ministers Alibux and Snijders visited me once again. The purpose was to receive my comments and amendments to the document they had handed to me. Instead however, there was little or no discussion on the substance of the proposals from either side took place, but rather a new proposal was made by the Surinamese side for the matter to be taken for discussion at the highest political level. It has now become obvious that these matters cannot be pursued further, much less resolved at this Ministerial level.

We hope that Suriname has weighed carefully the implications of not allowing this body to exhaust its efforts to the fullest to arrive at conclusions and decisions on those matters that have been with us for several days.

Now that we have come to the end of our mandate in the context of the outside date which Guyana set itself for a solution to the problem I wish on behalf of the Government of Guyana to make it clear that the failure to resolve the matter to the mutual satisfaction of the two sides will neither frustrate nor weaken Guyana’s resolve to achieve its goals.

In this regard, Guyana takes this opportunity to alert Suriname to the fact that having exerted every effort towards a search for a peaceful solution to the problem we have no alternative but to seek recourse to other appropriate processes to find a solution to the matter before us.

The people of Guyana are a peaceful people committed to the development of their country and the advancement of the welfare of their society.

We will continue to strive for good neighbourly relations with all our neighbours, Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname. These relations should be conducted on the basis of understanding and mutual respect. However, no one should assume or encourage others to assume that the Guyanese people shall be anything less than resolute in maintaining their territorial integrity.

As His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has stated: "my Government stands firm on the maintenance of Guyana’s sovereignty. It will take whatever action necessary to preserve and protect its territorial integrity".

The delegation of Guyana wishes to express its sincere appreciation for the hospitality extended by the Government of Suriname during its stay in Paramaribo.

We leave Suriname with mixed feelings but with the expectation that at some time in the future our mutual interests will blend into a harmonious engagement through which our peoples will live forever in peace and harmony.