On Tuesday, President Nicolas Maduro asserted that Venezuela will defend its sovereign rights over the Essequibo territory at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague.
"Venezuela will defend its historical and legal right over the Essequibo," he said, recalling that Vice President Delcy Rodriguez will participate in the hearings on the preliminary objections presented by Venezuela against Guyana's unilateral claim before the ICJ.
In October, she reiterated that the 1966 Geneva Agreement is the only legal instrument in force to achieve a solution between the parties on the dispute over the Essequibo, a territory of 160,000 square kilometers that is currently administered by Guyana.
One antecedent related to this dispute is the 1899 Award of Paris, whereby the U.K. seized Venezuelan territory and delimited borders between Venezuela and Guyana. Because of this action, 70 percent of the territory currently occupied by Guyana belongs to Venezuela.
It looks like the US and the West are forgetting all about their sanctions against #Venezuela.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) November 12, 2022
Both, the French President and the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, were seen welcoming Nicolas #Maduro with warm handshakes during the #COP27 climate summit in #Egypt. pic.twitter.com/YgZlxHQ8L0
In 1966, Venezuela and Guyana signed the "Geneva Agreement" whereby they committed to the bilateral resolution of any conflict in the Essequibo area.
In 2015, however, the U.S oil company Exxon discovered an important oilfield in the maritime part of the disputed territory.
In 2018, Guyana asked the ICJ to get involved in the resolution of the territorial conflict, thus ignoring the 1966 Geneva Agreement.
In 2020, amid the U.S. attacks against the Bolivarian revolution, the Hague Court declared itself competent to analyze "the validity" of the 1899 arbitration award.