Guyana working with U.S., UK, France, Caricom and others to ensure peace in region – Ali tells Newsweek

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South America’s rising oil giant Guyana is working with a large and diverse group of countries to build a robust mechanism in pursuit of peace and stability in the region.

“We’re taking seriously every threat by Venezuela. We’re not taking any of this threat for granted,” President Irfaan Ali told Newsweek’s Arick Wierson in an interview last week, after being asked about recent satellite images that show military activity on the Venezuelan side of the border.

“We are not taking the behavior of Venezuela for granted,” Ali said. “Our primary concern is the safety and security of our citizens, our investment, and everything that is within our territorial space, our sovereign space, and our exclusive economic zone.” 

Venezuela’s military posture does not conform with its diplomatic stance – Todd

Guyana and Venezuela pledged not to aggravate their Essequibo border controversy further after flared tensions resulted in a Venezuela referendum seeking public support to annex the Essequibo. 

US defense official engaging with CARICOM leaders in Guyana visit  | OilNOW

But Venezuela’s actions seem to tell a story different from its commitment. 

Guyana has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to provide a final resolution to the territorial controversy. Venezuela does not recognize the Court’s authority and believes that dialogue – though this has failed over the past several decades – is the best avenue. Guyana remains firm on its decision to rely on the ICJ.

While it awaits that outcome, President Ali said, “We are not naive.” 

Guyana has been strengthening its defense systems aggressively, planning for all eventualities. 

“This is not only about Guyana, this is about the safety, security, and stability of the entire region,” Ali pointed out. “So we have been working with the UK, the U.S., France, and all of these countries and CARICOM, French Guiana to ensure that we build a robust mechanism of cooperation and integrate formally, our joint approach, our joint commitment [to] ensuring a peaceful region, a stable region, and a region in which international law and the rule of law would be the guiding light and guiding principles for all of us.” 

The U.S. is closely monitoring the situation, said White House National Security Communications Advisor, John Kirby. He described Venezuela’s military presence on its side of the border as small in scale. He said the U.S. continues to urge a peaceful resolution to the controversy and that it will continue to keep an eye on the situation.

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