Today: Friday, 23 February 2024 year

Guyana will appeal to the UN Security Council over Venezuela’s claims to Essequibo.

Guyana will appeal to the UN Security Council over Venezuela’s claims to Essequibo.

Georgetown views Caracas’ post-referendum efforts to integrate the disputed Essequibo region as a threat to national security and intends to appeal to the UN Security Council, the country’s President Irfaan Ali said.

“The desperate actions of (Venezuela’s) President Nicolás Maduro fly in the face of international law and pose a grave threat to international peace and security. Tomorrow, Guyana will bring this issue to the United Nations Security Council for appropriate action. We will further engage CARICOM, the OAS, The Commonwealth and many of our bilateral partners, including the United States of America, Brazil, the United Kingdom and France,” Ali said in a statement posted on his social media page.

Maduro on Tuesday called on the country’s National Assembly to pass an organic law to protect the disputed territory of Guyana-Essequibo, which would establish a new Venezuelan state west of the Essequibo River, and announced the immediate activation of a social assistance plan for the entire population of these lands, a census and the issuance of documents.

According to Ali, Caracas’ actions to integrate the region, which has been under British and Guyanese rule for over a century and represents two-thirds of the country’s sparsely populated territory, is a direct threat to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Guyana, as well as a violation of the fundamental principles of international law enshrined in in the charters of the UN and OAS, and recent decisions of the International Court of Justice.

Maduro, at a meeting with the expanded government, declared the Essequibo territory disputed with Guyana an “integral defense zone” and invited oil companies operating in the undivided sea to cease operations within three months, with the caveat that he was open to negotiations. Separately, the Venezuelan leader proposed broadly discussing a ban on contracts with companies that operate concessions in the undivided sea unilaterally granted by Guyana.

He instructed the national oil and gas PDVSA to immediately create a regional division and begin issuing licenses for the exploration and production of gas and oil.

The President of Guyana, speaking separately to foreign investors, in turn assured them that they were investing in a safe, democratic country where the rule of law prevails, so they have nothing to worry about.

However, he indicated that the Guyana Defense Forces are on full combat readiness and have already involved their military colleagues in the situation, including the US Army Southern Command.

Venezuela’s dispute over Essequibo territory with Great Britain and neighboring Guyana has been ongoing since the 19th century. The government of the Bolivarian Republic has stepped up its efforts to return this territory to the country after the Guyanese authorities began to transfer mineral-rich areas of the disputed shelf to oil companies for development.

In 1966, the countries signed the Geneva Agreement to find a peaceful solution to the dispute, but in 2018 Guyana filed a case at the International Court of Justice in which it asks the court to legally approve the 1899 Arbitral Award, which gives the country absolute control over the territory. This was sharply opposed by Caracas, which intends to resolve the issue of its territory with its neighbors without intermediaries.