There is hope that the growing tensions surrounding the border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana may take a turn toward resolution, following the announcement of a face-to-face meeting between the two embattled countries.
Come 10 am on Thursday, December 14, Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro and Guyanese President, Ifraan Ali will be meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves at a press conference on Saturday, December 9, just one day after CARICOM Heads of governments met via Zoom.
The meeting is being held under the patronage of CARICOM and CELAC and the President of Brazil, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has also been invited to attend.
PM Gonsalves disclosed contents of a letter communicated to the Presidents, which he said was leaked in a Guyanese media outlet, stating that it is “necessary and desirable” for face-to-face dialogue between “these two great countries”.
“Both of you have concurred with this assessment in the quest of peaceful coexistence, the application and respect for international law and the avoidance of the use of threats of force. Both of you are in public record of committing to the Caribbean, as a zone of peace and the maintenance of international law.
Clearly, each of you has to summon the proverbial wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and the foresight of all the ancient prophets to engender good neighbourliness in peace, justice, security and prosperity for all concerned,” the letter said.
Responding to questions from the media, Dr Gonsalves said, “Today I can’t answer what is going to be the outcome. What I do know with certainty that it is better for people in conflict to be talking …”
The Prime Minister reiterated comments he made at a press conference held earlier this week, stressing the need for continued dialogue between the two countries.
Tensions between the two countries increased significantly after a December 3 referendum held by Venezuela where it was reported that over 90 per cent of citizens voted in favour of the creation of a new Venezuelan state in the Essequibo region.
It was followed by an order from President Maduro to the state oil company to issue extraction licences for Essequibo and proposed the National Assembly pass a bill making the area part of Venezuela.
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