Sunday, February 5, 2023

Guyana wants assurances its sovereignty not part of US discussions with Venezuela – VP Jagdeo

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As United States President Joe Biden looks for ways to lower gas prices, Guyana wants to make sure the North American nation’s support for its territorial integrity will not be made to hang in the balance.

This was related to journalists on Thursday by Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, during a press conference.

Authorities in Guyana met with visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti, Barbara Feinstein, over the past two days.

Reporting on what transpired, Dr. Jagdeo said Feinstein reinforced the assurances that have been made publicly by US officials about the country’s unwavering support for Guyana’s sovereignty, particularly in relation to Venezuela’s claim for two-thirds of Guyana’s territory and the case currently with the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Notably, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected global oil and gas supply and, in turn, commodity prices including fuel prices in the US, as is occurring everywhere. President Biden is looking for ways to ease the burden on US citizens.

Senior US officials held a high-level meeting with the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro earlier this month. Media reports indicate that the meeting, a significant development for two nations which have been at odds, was cordial, and that communication lines remain open.

With the largest reserves in the world, Venezuela could offer a lifeline to help lower global prices and help the US isolate Russia from its few allies. In return for a deal with Venezuela to supply oil, the United States could ease longstanding sanctions it had imposed on Venezuela due to the Bolivarian Republic’s thorny record on democracy.

Authorities in Guyana are not against the two sides meeting. However, on the meeting with Feinstein, Guyana’s Vice President said, “We agreed that we would share more information so that when these meetings take place, between the different parties… US and Venezuela, we are assured first of all that Guyana did not come up and our sovereignty will not be part of any such discussion, and that we’ll continue to share more information about what takes place in these discussions in the future.”

Notably, Miami Herald Columnist, Andres Oppenheimer said in a recent column that Guyana would be a better option than Venezuela to increase oil supply. Guyana is, after all, experiencing one of the most rapid production ramp-ups in the industry already. However, Dr. Jagdeo reported no such discussions between Feinstein and Guyanese authorities.

Meanwhile, Guyana awaits the conclusion of its case before the World Court, in a bid to bring finality to the matter and stave off Venezuela’s claim for its territory.

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