Maduro seeks peace talks with Guyana

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Guyana President Irfaan Ali –

A meeting will be held between Guyanese President Irfaan Ali and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on December 14 about the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela. The meeting will be held in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The announcement was made by SVG Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Saturday in a letter to both presidents, following separate conversations with the leaders.

Gonsalves said, “Both of you have agreed with me for such a meeting to be held under the auspices of CELAC of which St Vincent and the Grenadines is the pro-tempore president, and Caricom of which the current chairman is the Commonwealth of Dominica.”

He noted both men had asked for the presence of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio da Silva, which had been requested.

Gonsalves said in light of the recent events and circumstances, the leaderships of both entities “have assessed in the interest of all concerned, including our Caribbean and Latin American civilisations, the urgent need to de-escalate the conflict and institute an appropriate dialogue, face-to-face, between the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela.”

Ali said he agreed to attend the meeting, which he understood would be observed by Brazil, Caricom, and an UN Under-Secretary General. He said Guyana has always been committed to international peace and security and promotion of good international relations.

He said the country’s land boundary is not up for discussion, as it was currently before the International Court of Justice, whose decision would be respected by Guyana when made.

Maduro, in an earlier release, said the meeting would be held with the final purpose of preserving the aspiration to maintain Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace, without interference from external actors.

The release said additionally, Maduro spoke with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who committed to promoting the efforts in favour of direct dialogue between the parties, and reminded that he had always offered his good offices for the solution of the controversy.

AFP News Agency reported on Saturday that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has urged his counterpart Maduro in a phone call against taking “unilateral measures” that would escalate Venezuela’s border dispute with Guyana.

The Embassy of Venezuela to TT, in a post also on X, formerly known as Twittter, at around 11am said, “We were honoured to place the new map of the Bolivarian Republic of #Venezuela, which includes the State of Guayana Essequibo; thus, fulfilling the mandate of the Venezuelan people and President Nicolas Maduro.”

The attached video said the action was taken as a result of the referendum held on Sunday.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro –

Meanwhile, Caricom has reiterated its support of Guyana in its pursuance of the resolution of its border controversy with Venezuela through the process of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and called for a de-escalation of the conflict.

In a statement on Friday, Caricom heads of government urged Venezuela to respect the conservatory measures determined by the ICJ in its recent ruling until a final resolution.

“Caricom reiterates its commitment to the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace and the maintenance of international law.

“Accordingly, Caricom calls for a de-escalation of the conflict and for appropriate dialogue between the leaders of Venezuela and Guyana to ensure peaceful coexistence, the application and respect for international law and the avoidance of the use or threats of force.”

The statement was issued following a meeting of the heads of government on Friday to discuss the situation with regard to the Venezuela Guyana border controversy.

In November, Maduro reopened a dispute over the ownership of the Essequibo region of Guyana, the borders of which were decided by the British in 1899.

He carried out a referendum on December 2, and as a result ordered Venezuela’s National Assembly to draft a law to establish Guyana Esequiba as Venezuela’s 24th state, portrayed as part of his new map of an enlarged Venezuela.

Caracas has also announced the appointment of a general as governor of Essequibo, and has stated its intention to invite Venezuelan companies to bid for licences for mineral exploration and production. He promised a census of locals, to whom he promised Venezuelan ID cards.

Prior to the referendum, Guyana brought a case before the ICJ, which issued a ruling urging Venezuela to refrain from taking any action to seize Guyana’s Essequibo region. The US, UK, and Brazil have indicated their support for Guyana, along with several US senators.