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Book source: Area Handbook Guyana & Belize look for and select Guyana & Belize

Subject: Historical Border Disputes


Being on the ground In Suriname surrounded by jungle and wild rivers one can appreciate the problems of any border patrol especially with insufficient logistics and personnel. Thus through the ages there have been border disputes between Suriname and its neighbors. This posting deals with the Guyana-Suriname Dispute:

Suriname reaffirmed a claim to an area in southeastern Guyana, the New River Triangle, after achieving independence from the Netherlands in November 1975. Despite renewed efforts by Guyana and Suriname to reach an agreement, border incidents occurred repeatedly in the late 1970s. In September 1977, Guyana seized a Surinamese trawler for fishing illegally in Guyana's 200-nautical- mile Exclusive Economic Zone. Suriname retaliated in January 1978 when it withdrew licenses from Guyanese fisherman who worked the Courantyne River, which formed the border between the two nations. Allegations were made that Suriname also used gunboats to harass Guyanese loggers on the river. Renewed talks in 1978 resolved the fishery dispute and led to the Surinamese trawler's return. In 1979 Guyana's prime minister, Linden Forbes Burnham, and Suriname's prime minister, Henck Arron, signed an agreement establishing fishing rights and reopening the border. However, in 1980 a military coup overthrew Arron's government and relations deteriorated. Although tensions between Guyana and Suriname improved slightly after Hugh Desmond Hoyte became Guyana's president in 1985, the border dispute remained unresolved in mid- 1991.

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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