Guyana and Brazil are preparing to review a formal agreement for military cooperation following developments in neighbouring Venezuela, which has claimed a major portion of Guyana as theirs.
Brazil’s Minister of Defence, Raul Jungmann Pinto, yesterday confirmed his country’s support for Guyana which is preparing to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a peaceful resolution to the border controversy with Venezuela. The neighbouring republic has made increasingly aggressive claims in recent years.
Jungmann, who was appointed in 2016, led a visiting delegation that included Minister of JusticeTorquato Lorena Jardim and high-ranking military officials into talks at State House with President David Granger, members of his Cabinet and the Defence Board.
Both sides committed to review the September 2012 Joint Communiqué, which followed the official visit to Guyana by Ambassador Celso Amorim, then Minister of Defence of Brazil. The review is intended to update the agreements in that document and bring them in line with present-day realities, as well as, to deepen defence cooperation.
“We would like to review the Joint Communiqué to determine its applicability to present-day circumstances. That agreement contained seven points, which are being implemented but in light of the present situation in the northern coast of South America, we would like to review that agreement… to put greater emphasis on surveillance and our involvement in the Amazon Surveillance System,” Granger said.
To this end, Minister Jungmann informed that Brazil is ready to revisit the terms and provisions of the Communiqué to work out the modalities of how the two countries can cooperate in the areas of defence outlined by the President.
“We are willing to review the Communiqué. We will do this through our Military Attaché…who will then refer it to the higher authorities,” he said.
President Granger also took the opportunity to place on record, Guyana’s gratitude to Brazil for its support for Guyana in the border controversy with Venezuela.
Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, updated the visiting delegation on the recent developments of the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy, which he said is at the heart of Guyana’s national security.
Speaking on defence cooperation, Jungmann told the President that countries in the hemisphere have to work more closely together to tackle problems like drug-trafficking and other transnational crimes, which threaten law and order and citizens’ safety.
“As Minister of Defence, we have responsibility for the army, the marine and the air force, so whatever we can do to assist Guyana, let us know,” the Minister told the President.
Minister Jungmann said that Brazil has the third largest border in South America and the world at large and it has frontier with 10 countries.
He noted that Brazil wants to see the controversy with Venezuela resolved permanently and in a diplomatic manner, which can be achieved at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This, he said, is vital for the stability of the South American continent.
Following the discussions, President Granger conferred Jungmann with the insignia of the national award, the Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH) at a brief ceremony.
President Granger said that the award symbolises Guyana’s high regard for Jungmann and is an acknowledgement of the successful defence cooperation which has existed between Guyana and Brazil for nearly 50 years.
According to President Granger, Brazil has remained resolute in its commitment to peace on the South American continent.
“Guyana therefore records its appreciation for Brazil’s consistent and unwavering support over the past 50 years and its support for the peaceful settlement of the territorial controversy which has arisen out of the claim by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that the award of the tribunal which defined and demarcated the border in 1899 was null and void,” Granger stated.
The Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces also recognized Brazil’s commitment to the perseveration of South America as a zone of peace, promotion of respect for international law and the inviolability of treaties, commitment to international peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief and the consolidation of defence cooperation between Brazil and Guyana.
“It is said that in international diplomacy, you can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your neighbours. Guyana is proud to have a neighbour such as Brazil which is also a friend. The friendship between Guyana and Brazil is founded on the international principles of mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Granger stated.
The President stated that that Brazil and Guyana share mutual respect for the non-interference in each other’s territorial affairs, cooperation for mutual benefits, respect for treaties, the inviolability of borders, respect for international law and the maintenance of international peace and security.
Guyana views the visit as the beginning of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Brazil which was formally established on December 18, 1968.
The President’s team in the discussions included Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, Attorney General, Mr. Basil Williams, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Mr. David Patterson, Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston Jordan and Minister of Public Affairs, Ms. Dawn Hastings-Williams.
Last year, President David Granger led a delegation to Brazil to discuss cooperation. During the visit, Brazil gave assurances of supporting Guyana’s position on having the border controversy settled through the ICJ.
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