Oil producers urged to cooperate Guatemala set to send border dispute to UN
KUWAIT CITY Omani and Kuwaiti oil ministers yesterday called on OPEC and non-OPEC producers to continue their unprecedented cooperation to maintain stability in the energy market.
Producers from the OPEC oil cartel and non-OPEC countries struck a deal in 2016 to trim production by 1.8 million barrels per day to rebalance the market after its collapse in 2014.
The deal, which runs out at the end of this year, has succeeded in boosting oil prices above US$70 a barrel from below $30 a barrel in early 2016.
I call for the signatories of the (cooperation) declaration agreement, those 24 nations from OPEC and non-OPEC, to continue the dialogue, the understanding and commitment in maintaining the market conditions that will encourage investment, Omani Oil Minister Mohamed al-Rumhi told an oil conference in Kuwait.
He also called for enhancing collaboration and work together to ensure security of supply for consumers and security of demand for producers.
Kuwaits Oil Minister Bakheet al-Rasheedi said he believes that oil producers were on the right path to restore stability to the oil market.
A year ago, there was a surplus of 340 million barrels of oil. At the end of February, the surplus dropped to 50 million barrels and we believe we are on the right path to get rid of this surplus, Rasheedi told reporters.
He said that the OPEC and non-OPEC cooperation will be reviewed at an OPEC meeting in June.
Market conditions will determine whether the deal will be extended beyond 2018 or arrive at a permanent agreement... to support the market on a long-term basis, he said.
OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries have called for striking a long-term cooperation deal to stabilise the oil market.
OPEC secretary general Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo told the Kuwait conference that the 2016 deal achieved a great success in overcoming the worst cycle in the history of oil.
A new chapter is being authored by OPEC and nonOPEC producers to continue cooperation, he said.
In the months ahead, we will look to institutionalise this longterm framework for continuity with an inclusive and broadbased participation, Barkindo said.
The joint ministerial committee of OPEC and non-OPEC ministers, which monitors compliance to production cuts, meets in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday to review adherence and discuss long-term cooperation. AFP GUATEMALA CITY Guatemalans voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to send a centuries-old border dispute with neighbouring Belize to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution, according to preliminary referendum results.
A total of 95.89 per cent voted yes, with votes from over 92 per cent of polling stations accounted for, said Gustavo Castillo of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
Polls closed at 6:00pm local time after 11 hours of voting, which took place without reports of security incidents, tribunal president Maria Eugenia Mijangos said.
But despite 7.5 million Guatemalans being summoned to the ballot box, the vote was marked by low turnout.
The border disagreement, whose roots go back two centuries, has seen tensions spike from time to time. Two years ago Guatemala mobilised 3,000 troops along the densely forested unmarked border zone after an incident in which a Guatemalan teenager was fatally shot.
A Belize border patrol had opened fire after being shot at, but an investigation by the Organisation of American States found it not responsible for the death.
The two nations agreed in 2008 to send the dispute to The Hague-based ICJ, if the people of both countries approved.
Observers from 25 countries were on hand to monitor the polling.
Belize has not yet fixed a date for its referendum on the issue, although officials say it could take place next year.
The Guatemalan plebiscite asked voters to respond yes or no as to whether any legal claims by Guatemala against Belize relating to its territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and boundary determination.
Mijangos told reporters that voter apathy was a big risk. Efforts by President Jimmy Morales to boost turnout have foundered on the rocks of his low popularity.
Very important issue
On Sunday, Mijangos said: We are calling on all Guatemalans, especially the youth making up the majority of the electorate, to participate, to go to polling stations to put in their vote on this very important issue which has taken so many years to find a solution to.
Morales said as he voted that the two countries had very good bilateral relations and he hoped the dispute could be resolved.
Guatemala has made claims over more than half of Belizes territory, dating back to when its English-speaking neighbour was a British colony known as British Honduras.
The border issue goes back to 1783 when Spain the former colonial power over what is now Guatemala gave Britain the right to occupy the territory that became Belize and exploit its timber in exchange for combating piracy. A century later, it became a British colony.
In 1964 British Honduras won the right to self-government and in 1973 renamed itself Belize.
Independence came in 1981, though a British military presence remained until the mid-1990s because Guatemala refused for a decade to recognise it as a new country. AFP