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ICJ eyes Guyana-Venezuela border row

The World Court has ruled it has jurisdiction to hear a dispute between Guyana and Venezuela over the demarcation of their land border, which may ultimately determine which has rights to offshore oil and gas fields.

In a 12-4 decision, judges at the UN court, formally known as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), concluded that they have jurisdiction to hear a suit brought by Guyana arguing the border was established by an 1899 arbitration between Venezuela and the then-colony of British Guiana.

Venezuela’s government had argued the international court had no jurisdiction and it prefers direct talks with Guyana over its claims to a huge, sparsely populated area west of the Essequibo River.

The court has not yet set a date for arguments on the merits of Guyana’s case.

The ICJ is the United Nations’ court for resolving disputes between countries.

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