Venezuela border controversy: UAE, UK & France updated on Venezuela’s aggression as Guyana garners int’l support
– UAE President slated to visit next year
By Jarryl Bryan
Guyana continues to garner support from the international community when it comes to the Venezuelan threats to its territorial sovereignty, with bilateral discussions being held with France and with the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the global stage.
On Thursday, President Dr Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo met with Britain’s King Charles III on the sidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) 28 in Dubai, UAE. President Ali is leading Guyana’s delegation to the climate change talks and will be returning to Guyana on December 2.
In addition to King Charles, the pair also held talks with former British Prime Minister turned Foreign Secretary, Dave Cameron. During the meeting with the Foreign Secretary, issues related to the Guyana-Venezuela controversy were raised, as Guyana got further assurances of British support.
However, President Ali also held talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. During the discussions, the two leaders explored enhanced cooperation in various fields, especially in economic and development. Importantly, President Ali updated the UAE President on the border controversy.
The two sides also discussed several regional and international issues of common interest and exchanged views on them. According to a statement from the Office of the President, “the two leaders reviewed opportunities to develop existing cooperation, especially in the economic and development fields, and to build on these relations in a way that serves the two countries’ vision for a sustainable society and a prosperous future.”
It was further explained that the meeting “discussed the importance of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in finding solutions to achieve sustainability and advance global climate action,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, reports in sections of the media indicate that the UAE President is slated to visit Guyana next year. President Ali was quoted as saying that the UAE has a strong interest in investing in Guyana and exploring areas of cooperation.
Additionally, the report indicated that President Al Nahyan has committed to visiting Guyana in 2024, with the view of deepening ties between the two countries and even the possibility of a development pact.
Meanwhile, Guyana continues to engage members of the United Nations Permanent Security Council, such as France. On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud had talks with the head of the political affairs department of the French Foreign Ministry, Mohamed Bouabdallah.
“An update was provided to the French side on Venezuela’s upcoming referendum and the aggressive postures being taken by Caracas. France reiterated its full support and need for respect of the International Court of Justice mechanism in addressing the border controversy,” the state media said.
The French official reiterated France’s full support for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) process of resolving the border controversy. Both countries reaffirmed the importance of respect for international law and the sovereignty of all member states consistent with the United Nations Charter.
In addition to Guyana’s border controversy with Venezuela, they discussed Security Council matters and what Guyana will seek to accomplish during its term as a non-permanent member of the council from January 2024.
“Mr. Bouabdallah conveyed the full support of France for Guyana’s mandate and acknowledged that Guyana’s aim is like that of France in seeking ways to improve the fulfilment of the mandate of the Council, by serving as buffers and creating balance on the Council to ensure that the important issues are sufficiently and effectively addressed.”
During the meeting, the Foreign Secretary also highlighted Guyana’s priority areas for its tenure on the Council, especially on climate and food security, as a threat to peace and security. It was meanwhile agreed that Guyana and France should seek to work together, consult, and share notes on not just priority areas but also many of the critical issues facing the global community.
These critical issues include the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the crisis in Haiti. France, according to Bouabdallah, remains committed to collaborating with Guyana on common issues and to the development of joint initiatives and mechanisms to ensure that the Council adheres to the UN Charter.
Last month, the Venezuelan National Electoral Council published a list of five questions that it plans to put before the Venezuelan people in a referendum set for December 3, 2023. The referendum will seek the Venezuelan people’s approval to, among other things, annex Essequibo and create a Venezuelan state. It also seeks the citizens’ approval for Venezuela to grant citizenship and identity cards to residents of Essequibo.
Over the past few weeks, Guyana has been informing regional and international partners of Venezuela’s planned referendum, which has been criticized by the United States, Caricom, and the Organization of American States (OAS), as well as several other nations in the Region, including Brazil.