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Energy, infrastructure take centre stage in high-level Guyana, Brazil meeting

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Guyana’s President, Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday announced an amplification in bilateral relations between Guyana and Brazil after a meeting among high level government officials from both countries, the Office of the President said in a press statement.

The Guyanese President, who returned this morning from Suriname after a four-day official state visit said that the meeting was a follow up to what started in Suriname and will see all three countries connecting at many levels.

“We’re talking about the integration of the Guiana Shield and link to Brazil. That discussion started in Suriname,” Mr. Ali was quoted as saying in the press statement.

He said that high on the agenda is the paving of the Linden to Lethem road, which will facilitate trade and investments between the two nations.

“That road link is linked to the port development, so for that issue we have set up a special committee that will be led by the ministers’ technical teams, so we can advance the work and move, not only to the conceptualisation, but closer to the implementation of this project. Both sides have committed fully to this development—via a joint approach,” the President said.

In the meeting, which was led by the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hugh Todd and his Brazilian counterpart Minister of External Relations of the Federative Republic of Brazil Ernesto Araújo, both countries also agreed to the implementation of the “International Road Transport Agreement”.

According to the press statement, several other high-ranking government officials, including Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn and Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha, also met with the Brazilian Delegation.

President Ali said that the discussions were riveting and included key areas of focus, including discussions to expand the partial scope agreement (PSA), energy, Guyana’s oil and gas sector and other energy potential which can be exported to Brazil. He said that the aim is to develop these areas in anticipation of a visit by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro early next year.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Technical Feasibility Studies for the Installation of Optical Network from Boa Vista, Brazil to Georgetown, Guyana was also signed during the visit.

“There will be a number of teams that will commence work almost immediately leading up to the visit of the President (Bolsonaro), so that you can advance these initiatives forward,” Mr. Ali said.

He added that the idea was to have an investment arrangement, where potential investors can have an understanding of the opportunities that exist in Guyana and how to access them.

Meanwhile the two countries also discussed areas of security and Covid-19.

Areas of security, according to the President, included: integration of our security efforts, targeting drugs and securing the borders.  “We’ve also set up a high-level team to look at the security concern and integrating what we’re doing into the regional programme. So, that was also an area that we discussed.”

Meanwhile, according to the President, an MOU was also expected to be signed today between CANU and the Brazilians.

Mr. Ali said that coming from a previous discussion with President Bolsonaro, it was agreed that the two countries will work closely together to fight Covid-19.

“Brazil has been developing their own vaccines. So, they will be manufacturing nationally…in my discussions with President Bolsonaro, we’ve talked about this, and Brazil supporting Guyana with our vaccination programme when it comes around.”

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