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GUYANA | Venezuelan military activity off Guyana's Essequibo coast threatens peace

Featured Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd
GEORGETOWN, January 29, 2021- Guyana’s Foreign Minister Hugh Todd is intimating that increased Venezuelan military activity off Guyana’s Essequibo territorial coastline is posing an increased threat to peaceful relations between both countries by threatening Guyana’s sovereign rights of its maritime space and hindering economic activity.

In a statement to his country’s parliament on Thursday  foreign minister Todd said  “Following the announcement of President Maduro’s Decree of 7 January 2021, there was increased activity in Guyana’s maritime space by Venezuelan Navy vessels and other Venezuelan State assets. Such illegal activity continues to undermine Guyana’s development, by threatening Guyana’s sovereign rights of its maritime space and hindering economic activity.”

Todd told the General Assembly that “on January 7, 2021 the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela announced during a meeting of the National Defence Council that he had established “a new maritime territory” of Venezuela. This territory is called “Territory for the development of the Atlantic Façade “in order to provide adequate protection and safeguard the jurisdiction of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”.

The Maduro government carried out its threat on the 21 January 2021, “when two Guyanese fishing vessels, namely, Lady Nayera and Sea Wolf, were intercepted by Venezuelan naval vessel, Commandante Hugo Chavez GC 24, off the coast of Waini Point (well within Guyana’s territory). The crew and both vessels were illegally detained by the Venezuelan Government and are currently still in detention at Port Guiria,” foreign minister Todd told parliament.

He said “Guyana has strongly condemned the illegal detention of its citizens and the illegal seizure of their fishing vessels by the Venezuelan navy. As I speak, my Ministry continues to engage the International community to resolve this issue in the most peaceful and diplomatic manner.”

He assured the General Assembly that everything was being done to have a peaceful resolution of the matter including a meeting with “my Venezuelan counterpart, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, on 25 January 2021, to discuss the detention of the fishing vessels and crew and status of their release.”

“We are encouraged that the international community is seized of this matter and has encouraged Venezuela to release our Guyanese nationals and their fishing vessels and to desist from actions that violate international law and threaten the peace and stability of the region.

“Guyana values highly the support which it has received and continues to receive from individual member states of the international community such as Belize, Brazil, Canada, France, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as well as through regional and international groupings of CARICOM, the OAS, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union in its strenuous endeavours to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

  • Countries: Guyana

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