Guyana Urges Diplomacy But Investing In Its Military – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Guyana is committed to diplomacy and the international rule of law in the border controversy with neighboring Venezuela but is investing in its military.

Guyana President Dr. Irfaan Ali explained that diplomacy is his country’s first line of defence.

In an interview with the BBC, he stated that Guyana would honour and respect the outcome of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the case, reaffirming his country’s commitment to international institutions and the rule of law.

However, Ali disclosed that the country was also investing in its military.

He told the BBC’s Stephen Sackur that Guyana recognises it is dealing with an aggressive neighbour that had made certain threats.

President Ali, in recognition of the challenges posed by an aggressive neighbour, revealed that Guyana is bolstering its military capabilities, not as an offensive measure, but as a defensive strategy to protect its sovereignty and interests.

“But more than that, we have aligned ourselves with countries and a region that are on the side of Guyana,” Ali observed.

He recalled that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada had voiced support for Guyana’s sovereignty.

“So we are working on the basis of an international coalition that would not allow this region to be destabilised by any action by Venezuela to overrun our territorial integrity or our borders,” Ali asserted.

He emphasised that Guyana would call on every force and friend for help in protecting its territorial integrity if anyone attempted to destabilise or invade the South American country.

Venezuela claims over two-thirds of Guyana’s territory in the resource-rich Essequibo region.

Recently, lawmakers allied with Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro approved the creation of a new state in the disputed region.

Maduro and Guyana’s President Ali met in Saint Vincent in December last year, and the two sides issued an 11-point declaration.

The declaration included a commitment to pursuing good neighborliness, peaceful coexistence, and the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.