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Guyana’s President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, has announced that the country’s army was on full alert after a ‘dangerous development’ regarding Venezuela’s ‘unlawful’ claim to his country’s resource-rich Essequibo region.
Essequibo comprises over two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.
“The Guyana Defence Force is on full alert and has engaged its military counterparts, including the US Southern Command,” President Ali disclosed.
His remarks followed President Nicolas Maduro’s announcement of several measures to enforce Sunday’s referendum outcome in Venezuela.
Venezuelans voted by a wide margin to approve the takeover of the disputed territory.
On Tuesday, the Venezuela leader said he would authorise oil exploration in the disputed Essequibo region.
Maduro said he had proposed a law to the government-controlled legislature to create a new state.
In addition, he declared that companies already operating in waters in the area would have three months to leave.
A consortium led by Exxon Mobil began producing oil off Guyana’s coast in late 2019, and exports started in 2020.
President Ali said Maduro’s latest remarks constituted an imminent threat to Guyana’s territorial integrity and a violation of international law.
The Guyana President promised to bring the matter before the United Nations Security Council.
He said Venezuela had declared itself an ‘outlaw nation.’
Ali also said Maduro’s stand was a blatant violation of last week’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) order for Venezuela to maintain the status quo.
He revealed that Guyana had engaged the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organisation of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth, and bilateral partners, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Brazil.
The Guyana President said he had already spoken to the United Nations Secretary-General.
Ali observed that investors in Guyana have nothing to worry about since their investments were safe.
“Our international partners and international community are ready to support us and they have assured us of their support,” Ali explained.
However he emphasised Guyana’s commitment to ensuring the region remains a zone peace and urged Venezuela and its government to do likewise.