BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS Venezuela’s rhetoric continues to grow on a daily basis following its referendum on Sunday (Dec. 3), the United States of America is working with Guyana for a peaceful outcome to the territorial controversy.
Venezuela, over the weekend, held a referendum with three of the five questions on the ballot seeking to negate a longstanding settlement by the United Nations that gave Guyana control of the mineral-rich Essequibo Region, which is about two-thirds of the CARICOM member state.
Since Sunday’s referendum in which 95 percent of Venezuela’s voting population had abstained, President Nichol Maduro has stepped up pressure on the Irfaan Ali administration in Georgetown.
He has ordered all mining and exploration companies to leave within three months, and has given the state-controlled PDVSA to begin preparation to issue drill licenses.
Now, the United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has been in discussion with Guyana’s President, Irfaan Ali, and reiterated the United States “unwavering support for Guyana’s sovereignty”.
During a phone conversation with Ali, Blinken said: “The Secretary reiterated the United States’ call for a peaceful resolution to the dispute and for all parties to respect the 1899 Arbitral Award determining the land boundary between Venezuela and Guyana, unless, or until, the parties reach a new agreement, or a competent legal body decides otherwise.”
Also during their discussions, Secretary Blinken and President Ali noted the International Court of Justice order issued on December 1, which called for parties to refrain from any action that might aggravate or extend the dispute.
The Secretary of State reiterated that “the United States looks forward to working closely with Guyana once it assumes its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in January 2024.
“The two leaders concluded the call by agreeing upon the importance of maintaining a peaceful and democratic Western Hemisphere”, a statement from the US State Department said.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Guyana confirmed that “in collaboration with the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) will conduct flight operations within Guyana on December 7. This exercise builds upon routine engagement and operations to enhance security partnership between the United States and Guyana, and to strengthen regional cooperation”.
According to a media statement from the Embassy, in addition to that exercise, USSOUTHCOM would continue its collaboration with the GDF in the areas of disaster preparedness, aerial and maritime security, and countering transnational criminal organizations.
“The U.S. will continue its commitment as Guyana’s trusted security partner and promoting regional cooperation and interoperability,” the Embassy reiterated.
The situation between Guyana and Venezuela continues to develop every hour.