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Saint Lucia’s External Affairs Minister, Alva Baptiste, is confident that the region will remain a zone of peace, declaring that he never feared the use of force in the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we have dedicated our region as a zone of peace, and it shall remain a zone of peace,” the Laborie MP asserted.
Baptiste spoke following last week’s historic summit involving President Dr. Irfaan Ali of Guyana and Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.
The summit, which Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders attended, occurred at a time of heightened tensions over the Guyana-Venezuela border issue.
A joint declaration agreed, among other things, that both countries would not directly or indirectly threaten or use force against one another.
“Not for once I had any doubt that it was within our sphere of competence to bring resolution to this particular issue,” Saint Lucia’s External Affairs Minister told reporters on Monday.
He noted that Saint was ‘very close’ to Venezuela and an integral member of the CARICOM family, which is ‘extremely close’ to Venezuela.
“If we have an open line with Venezuela and a member of CARICOM, we know how to use the tool of diplomacy to resolve our issues,” Baptiste told reporters on the margins of Monday’s regular Cabinet meeting.
He explained on that basis, he had no doubt or fear about any invasion or use of force.
“I was never concerned about that because I felt there was that understanding and there was that relationship in our region to permit a resolution without the use of force,” the Minister stated.