Guyana to participate at Summit of the Americas next month – Pres Ali
…says will continue regional policy to support dialogue between Cuba & US
Guyana will be attending the Summit of the Americas, which is being hosted by the Organisation of American States (OAS) in the United States (US), next month. And according to President Dr Irfaan Ali, Guyana will continue to back the regional policy of supporting dialogue between Cuba and the United States (US).
In a side interview with members of the media on Sunday, Ali was asked about the Inter-America summit, which several other countries have said they will boycott. The President made clear, however, that Guyana will be attending and will be at the table, pursuing its interests.
“I want to say that we have worked with Heads of Caricom, in relation to the summit of the Americas, we have examined the issues that surround Cuba for example, we’ve raised those with the US Government, Caricom Heads and we raised those issues.”
“We have seen some movement in the positive direction. What we want is to see this continued and to see an aggressive move… we believe that this is a positive step in the direction,” President Ali said.
According to President Ali, he is unaware of whether Cuba will be attending the summit. However, he noted that Guyana will continue to advance the consensus among regional leaders on the need to forge greater cooperation and a clearer framework to improve dialogue with Cuba and the US.
“We will continue to represent the decision of Heads (of Government of Caricom) that is we must forge a stronger relationship and lay the framework through which there will be enhanced cooperation and advancement of the dialogue with Cuba and the US.”
“There are a number of issues that we have to discuss as a region, including climate change, food security, energy. And we want to be part of those conversations and in that light, we’ll be attending this summit,” the President explained.
Several regional leaders have already threatened to boycott the event on the basis of whether Cuban and Venezuelan leaders are excluded. Among the leaders who have threatened boycotts if Cuba and Venezuela are excluded are Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Bolivian President Luis Arce and Antigua, and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
Besides Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, mere hours after he left Guyana following the successful conclusion of the Agri-Investment Forum and Expo, also confirmed that he would be attending the summit.
“I will be attending the summit and I expect that if not all, a majority of my Caricom colleagues will be there and we have serious and interesting matters to engage the US on and we look forward to that,” Rowley told Trinidadian media.
Venezuela has been embroiled in deep economic and political turmoil over the past few years, following an election that the United States and other members of the international community have said was not credible.
The country has been beset by protests, hyperinflation, and large sections of the international community backing Juan Guaido as the interim President of the country, even while Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro remained in power.
All of this has come even as Guyana pursues its case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where it is seeking a final and binding judgement that the 1899 Arbitral Award which established the location of the land boundary between the then-British Guiana and Venezuela remains valid and binding, and that Guyana’s Essequibo region belongs to Guyana and not Venezuela, as is being claimed by the Spanish-speaking country. Guyana moved to the World Court in 2018, after exhausting all means of negotiation with Venezuela.
Meanwhile, the US has had an embargo in place against Cuba, a long-time ally of Guyana, since 1962. Relations between the US and Cuba had thawed under the Barack Obama Administration, before being tightened up again under his successor. However, there have in recent times been signs of the US seeking to accommodate Cuba at the Summit of the Americas.