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Guyana’s President asserts territorial sovereignty amidst Venezuela’s fresh threats over oil exploration bids

Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2023. 5:58 pm CST.

By Horace Palacio: In response to new threats from Venezuela regarding bids from multiple companies to explore oil in various offshore blocks, Guyana’s President, Irfaan Ali, staunchly defended Guyana’s territorial sovereignty. Addressing the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, he declared, “Guyana will spare no effort in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” This statement follows recent reports from Demerara Waves on the issue.

Historically, Guyana has primarily employed assertive diplomacy to safeguard its territory from hostile neighbors. Alongside the Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS), the United States has taken the initiative in the annual “Exercise Tradewinds”, focusing on potential risks to Guyana’s burgeoning oil sector, predominantly led by American powerhouse, ExxonMobil.

President Ali informed the global leadership at the UNGA about Venezuela’s “very threatening message” received just a day prior. The message, sent via a communique, criticized Guyana for offering bids on specific oil blocks located within its sovereign waters.

While the Guyanese leader remains confident in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) upholding the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award, solidifying the land boundary with Venezuela, he emphasized that Caracas’ recent aggressive posturing poses a significant risk to “regional and international peace and security as well as Guyana’s investment partners.”

“We demand that Venezuela honors its obligation under the charter to use only peaceful means to resolve any conflicts it may have with Guyana, including presenting them before the International Court of Justice. Allowing the court to decide would guarantee a peaceful, fair resolution in line with international law,” President Ali remarked.

He also extended his gratitude to all members of the international community that have consistently supported Guyana’s endeavors to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The President, while focusing on the central issue with Venezuela, also referenced the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, urging for an end to the Russian invasion and emphasizing the paramount importance of territorial integrity.

In a united stand against Venezuela’s recent provocations, the Guyana government, the opposition coalition of A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change, and the Secretary General of the Organisation of American States, Luis Almagro, have all firmly repudiated Caracas’ threats.

In the coming days, President Ali is anticipated to engage in multiple bilateral discussions with fellow world leaders and senior officials from international organizations regarding Venezuela’s stance. Meanwhile, Caracas has communicated to investors that Venezuela won’t acknowledge any contracts with third parties and emphasizes that Guyana and Venezuela should initially come to an agreement on offshore oil block bids.

 

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