Guyana, Russia to meet on allegation of military base
– as talks to resolve issue ongoing between 2 sides
Weeks after the Russians issued a claim that Guyana was collaborating with the British to construct a military base to use against the Venezuelan Government – a claim quickly rubbished by the Government – a meeting between Guyana and Russian representatives is being set up.
This was revealed by Foreign Secretary within the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Carl Greenidge, during a press conference on Wednesday. Greenidge explained that although Russia was yet to offer a retraction for its statement, talks were ongoing between the two sides.
According to the former Foreign Affairs Minister, the Russians responded recently to correspondence from the Ministry that had effectively debunked the claims, made by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
“The story is utterly and unambiguously false,” Greenidge told the media. “I’ve written to the Russian Foreign Minister and although they have not responded publicly, they have within the last few weeks sent a message via the Ambassador on this matter. It’s clear it’s untrue.
“The person that spoke can’t be separated from the Russian Administration, because she’s the official spokesperson. We have been bilaterally close since Independence. I have not seen anything like this from Russia or from fraternal bilateral States, so I am surprised. In the coming weeks, we expect to resolve this matter.”
Further stressing the impossibility of claims that the United Kingdom, through Guyana, was constructing a military base from which to aid Venezuelan dissidents, Greenidge noted the complete lack of evidence.
“The world knows that this is a very open society. Very few secrets exist that are not shared. Furthermore, both the Russian Embassy and other Embassies are free to travel in Guyana,” Greenidge further said.
“If they in fact unearthed the establishment of the base, then just as you see photographs of Russian aircraft appearing in Venezuela, I’m sure that would have been all over the globe. No such thing exists. The UK High Commissioner has indicated that no such plan is afoot. And we have also done the same.”
According to Greenidge, the two sides have since agreed to a process of resolving the issue, which includes a meeting with the Russians. The statement in question was made in August in Russia.
In the statement, Zakharova claimed that a military base was being constructed on an island in the Essequibo River. Immediately after, Guyana had called on the Russians to withdraw the allegation, with British High Commissioner Gregory Quinn also dismissing the claim.
Thousands of Venezuelan migrants fleeing political upheaval and social and economic collapse of their homeland have been receiving humanitarian assistance in Guyana. The situation has attracted international attention, with multilateral partners like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) providing assistance to the Government.