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Following Thursday’s historic high-level summit in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has lauded presidents Dr. Irfaan Ali of Guyana and Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela for their ‘statesmanship.’
At the summit, Guyana and Venezuela committed to peaceful coexistence in an eleven-point joint declaration.
The declaration said neither side would use threats or force against the other.
Thursday’s summit, which the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) helped to organise, occurred amid rising tensions between Guyana and Venezuela regarding a border controversy.
Prime Minister Pierre was among the leaders at the gathering.
He described the outcome as a very good day for CARICOM and the region’s people.
“It showed maturity. It showed leadership and it showed that when we sit and we speak to each other, we can achieve so much,” Pierre told reporters on Friday.
“Both President Maduro and President Ali must be complimented for their level of statesmanship that they displayed,” he asserted.
Amid opposition criticism for failing to ‘stand strong’ with Guyana, Pierre had urged a peaceful settlement of the border controversy with Venezuela.
He also said that CARICOM’s utterances reflected Saint Lucia’s position regarding the controversy.
With the summit over, Pierre said he had been proved correct in noting the need for a CARICOM perspective.
“Individual Prime Ministers should not have been going all over the place saying whatever they want to anybody else. We took a CARICOM position,” the Prime Minister told reporters.
Pierre observed that CARICOM stood firm under the leadership of the Prime Ministers of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and Roosevelt Skerrit.
A Brazil representative was also at the summit.
Pierre described the proceedings as sober and mature.
He said he was unsure whether many realised the repercussions of what could have happened if there was a failure to get Guyana and Venezuela talking to each other.
“I am very pleased. It was a victory for CARICOM because I think that wars happen because people do not speak and CARICOM got these two leaders together,” the Saint Lucia Prime Minister noted.
Guyanese President Irfaan Ali and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro agreed to meet again in Brazil within three months or at another agreed-upon time.
Ali and Maduro also agreed to establish a joint commission of foreign ministers and officials to address any matters relating to the disputed territory of Essqquibo, comprising over two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.