Jan 30, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Government of Venezuela has accused Guyana of being on a campaign of manipulation on the Essequibo controversy. Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, released a statement on Thursday, saying that Venezuela regrets that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) now “echoes” that ‘manipulation campaign’, an action Venezuela views as hostile. CARICOM is being chaired by Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley.
“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a country with a peaceful vocation,” Venezuela said, “which has broadly shown its solidarity with all the countries of the region, always promoting relations of good neighbourliness, respect and cooperation. Venezuela has shown unconditional solidarity at times when its Caribbean neighbours have experienced difficult situations.”
This statement followed the decision by CARICOM to stand in solidarity with Guyana, in calling for the release of the Guyanese fishermen Venezuela detained last week. The two vessels, Lady Nayera and Sea Wolf had been operating just off the coast at Waini Point where they were intercepted by the Venezuela Navy Vessel, Commandante Hugo Chavez GC 24, and ordered to navigate their way to Port Guiria to be held.
CARICOM had on Wednesday expressed grave concern at escalating tensions between Guyana and Venezuela, and recalled a statement it made on January 12 in which it firmly repudiated acts of aggression by Venezuela against Guyana. CARICOM said that Venezuela should respect Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and not undermine the security of the region.
Venezuela did not appreciate CARICOM’s statement, as it claims the Guyanese fishermen were engaged in illegal fishing in Venezuela’s waters. Foreign Minister, Arreaza even threatened further action against any more Guyanese found in the waters of the Essequibo.
Venezuela further sought to cast Guyana in a bad light, positing that Guyana is promoting military operations with “extra-regional powers” in “controversial” waters.
“Recently,” Venezuela said, “the Defence Force of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Coast Guard Service of the United States of America developed joint military exercises in controversial waters, very close to the jurisdictional waters of Venezuela, in an area still to be delimited and in which US companies have significant economic interests, particularly in the energy field. This fact should constitute a shared concern for the Caribbean community.”
The Bolivarian Republic said that despite CARICOM contributing to “an ominous climate of hostility”, it will continue to advocate for respect for the principles of international law. Despite this, Venezuela has consistently refused calls to release the fishermen its navy illegally abducted in Guyana’s waters, and has rejected the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to preside over litigation concerning its claim on Guyana’s territory. Venezuela has instead called on Guyana to negotiate with it.
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