NewsUN weighs in on Guyana's denial of Venezuelan military base claims

UN weighs in on Guyana's denial of Venezuelan military base claims

A member of the Venezuelan army reserve before the military parade in Tumeremo in the state of Bolivar in Venezuela.
A member of the Venezuelan army reserve before the military parade in Tumeremo in the state of Bolivar in Venezuela.
Images source: © East News | FEDERICO PARRA
ed. MUP
1:24 PM EST, November 10, 2023

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over the escalating tension between Guyana and Venezuela relating to the disputed border region known as Essequibo. This statement was released following Venezuela's accusation that Guyana had granted the US permission to establish a military base.

"The Secretary-General is closely monitoring the recent surge in tensions between Guyana and Venezuela due to the border disputes between these two countries. He is confident that both parties will act in good faith and will refrain from any actions that would amplify or prolong the conflict," stated Stephane Dujarric, Guterres' spokesperson.

The statement was released after Yvan Gil, the foreign minister of Venezuela, accused the Guyanese government on Wednesday of allowing the United States to set up a military base in Essequibo. Caracas described this as a "threat to the stability of Latin America and the Caribbean."

Hugh Todd, Guyana's foreign minister, refuted Gil's claims, accusing Venezuela of spreading misinformation.

"It seems that deception and creating divisions in the region are habitual stances for Venezuela, but in my view, they are not effective," stated Todd at a press conference.

The Conflict Over Essequibo

The region known as Essequibo is two-thirds of western Guyana and is a jungle area habited by about 250,000 people. The dispute originates from a 19th-century map that attributed this region to Guyana, which was a British colonial possession at the time, instead of Venezuela. Venezuela had maintained former Spanish claims to this area. There have been several unsuccessful international attempts to resolve the dispute and it is currently being considered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In April, the ICJ pronounced that it has jurisdiction over this case, which will determine which country has rights to the disputed territory. However, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro dismissed this claim.

The UN statement clarified that "The Secretary-General does not comment on matters subject to ongoing judicial proceedings" and reminded that the primary responsibility to find a solution lies with the ICJ.

Venezuela has announced that a referendum on the annexation of this area will be held on December 3, but Guyana has declared that it will not recognize the results.

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