Guyana and Venezuela have made a commitment to refrain from resorting to violence in their ongoing disagreement over a region with abundant oil resources.

During a tense meeting, leaders from Guyana and Venezuela vowed to refrain from using threats or force against each other. However, they were unable to come to a resolution on how to handle their ongoing disagreement over a large border area that is abundant in oil and minerals, causing concern among neighboring countries.

Instead, a committee including the foreign ministers of both nations and other officials will tackle the issue, with an anticipated report in three months.

The leaders of Guyana and Venezuela, President Irfaan Ali and President Nicolás Maduro, have decided to hold another meeting in Brazil within the next three months or at a different mutually agreed upon time. A declaration with eleven points was announced during a press conference on Thursday evening, where no questions were permitted.

The declaration stated that they also made a commitment to avoid worsening any disputes, whether through speech or actions.

Concerns have been raised about potential military tensions in the border area of Essequibo, but it is widely believed that such a conflict is improbable. Venezuela maintains that Essequibo was historically a part of its territory during the Spanish colonial era and cites a 1966 Geneva agreement between Venezuela, Britain, and what was then known as British Guiana (now Guyana) as invalidating a border established in 1899 by international arbitrators.

The long-standing conflict was revived following the finding of oil in Guyana. Tensions heightened after Venezuela announced that its people had voted in favor of claiming two-thirds of their smaller neighboring country in a referendum held on December 3rd.

The two leaders met for several hours at the main airport in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, with several prime ministers from the Caribbean also present.

The statement acknowledged the stalemate between Ali and Maduro. It stated that Guyana’s stance is that the border dispute should be settled by the International Court of Justice located in the Netherlands. However, Venezuela did not agree to this and refuses to acknowledge the court or its authority in the disagreement.

Neither Ali nor Maduro addressed reporters following their meeting.

Earlier today, the government of Guyana released a statement stating that Essequibo is not open to discussion, negotiation, or deliberation. Ali reiterated these sentiments during a press conference held during a pause in his discussions with Maduro.

Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali holds up a wrist band with a map of Guyana stressing that this depiction is the correct one

Ali gestured to a sturdy leather bracelet on his right wrist adorned with the outline of Guyana and declared, “This all belongs to Guyana. No amount of bias or official orders can alter this fact. Guyana is ours.”

Ali observed that although both sides are dedicated to maintaining peace in the area, Guyana is not the one initiating conflicts.

The speaker stated that Guyana is not actively seeking conflict, but they maintain the right to collaborate with their allies in order to protect their nation.

Before the meeting, Maduro stated that “we will utilize it to ensure that Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be a peaceful region.”

The two leaders shook hands before their meeting while others in the room applauded.

Spokesperson for the White House national security council, John Kirby, stated that officials from the Biden administration were closely observing the increasing tensions. Kirby expressed a desire to avoid any physical confrontation, stating that there is no justification for it. He also noted that diplomats are actively involved in addressing the situation.

Ali and Maduro initially had separate meetings with prime ministers and other government officials from the area who had requested the meeting in order to ease tensions.

Before the meeting, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves stated that “in terms of cricket, this is not a single-day match.”

He stated that it is crucial for them to have a conversation in a cordial and unbiased setting, such as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The leader of Venezuela has instructed their government-owned businesses to search for and utilize the oil, gas, and minerals in Essequibo. Both parties have alerted their armed forces.


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