Venezuela border controversy: Guyana working with Venezuela to ensure peace prevails – Pres Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali has assured the global community, including investors, that his country is working along with Venezuela, through regional leaders including the Caribbean Community (Caricom), to ensure the region remains a zone of peace and that the border controversy does not escalate.
The Head of State gave the assurance whilst being interviewed by Bloomberg, on Tuesday.

President of Guyana Dr Irfaan Ali during interview with Bloomberg

President Ali explained that the government takes any threat to its sovereignty seriously and is building up its defence capabilities. However, he explained that the “primary focus” of his government is to ensure Guyana and Venezuela can work together to ensure the region remains “stable and peaceful”.
This, he noted, is being done with support from regional and international leaders from the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Caricom and Canada, among others.
“We’re sure of our borders and in 1899, our borders were settled, Venezuelan participated in the settlement of those borders…there is absolutely no doubt as to where our borders are…a controversy was raised by Venezuela decades upon decades after, when we were going to independence and that controversy is before the ICJ,” he explained.
“We believe that any threat of our territorial integrity, any threat on our borders must be taken seriously and that is what we are doing… we are working with Venezuela now through Caricom to ensure that this doesn’t not escalate because our primary focus is to ensure the region remains stable and the region remains peaceful, “the Guyanese Leader added.
In December 2023, President Ali and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro signed the Argyle Declaration in which they agreed not to use force or threaten the use of force in the border controversy.
Since that development in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the foreign ministers of both nations met in Brazil to continue talks on both countries working together in areas of common interest.
Another meeting between the two presidents is likely.
In the meantime, President Ali has made it clear that Guyana is committed to pursuing a peaceful settlement of the controversy, through the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
He explained that the facts of the matter are clear and that majority of the international community stands in solidarity with Guyana.
In this regard, he emphasised that, “investors need not to worry because their investments are clearly in the territorial space of Guyana.”

Building defense capabilities
Amid reports of Venezuela building a military base within the vicinity of the Guyana/Venezuela border, President Ali reiterated that the government of Guyana is investing heavily in the modernisation its armed forces.
This includes the accumulating the highest level of technology, increasing human capacity and infrastructure.
Further, the Guyanese Leader explained that a series of rigorous joint military training between Guyana, Frances and the United Kingdom are slated to commence soon.
Working closely with the US, UK and France, regional security system to conduct several series of military training.
We are a country that respects the rule of law, we are a country that abides by international law and that is why we respectfully ask Venezuela to participate and be a responsible member of the international community and to respect the outcome of the ICJ… But for us it is a threat and we’re taking it seriously and we’re ensuring that we do everything to secure and protect the territorial space of Guyana,” President Ali said.
Increase joint training
Recently, the Guyanese and French militaries agreed to conduct increased joint training, with more units of the local military slated to be engaged.
On February 15, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Colonel General Staff, Kenlloyd Roberts and a team of officers welcomed French Captain (Navy) Laurent Martin and his team for a courtesy call at Defence Headquarters, Base Camp Ayanganna, Thomas Lands, Georgetown.
In a post on social media, the GDF said that during discussions, Guyana and France renewed their commitment to cooperate and mitigate shared challenges.
It was also noted that that trainings conducted since bilateral relationships were established between the two countries were acknowledged. (G1)