Guyana sends troops to its borders

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Guyana Wednesday confirmed that it had deployed additional troops and equipment to its border s after accusing Venezuela of amassing troops along the disputed borders of the two countries.
Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Mark Phillips, told reporters that the deployment is geared towards defining acts of aggression and incursion at the border.
Brigadier Phillips said the build-up of troops in Eastern Venezuela commenced over a week ago and intensified over the last weekend.
He said some 200 ground troops have been deployed in an “unusual” manner along with missiles close to the border that the two countries share.
“We consider this an affront to our sovereignty,” Brigadier Phillips said, adding that Venezuelan troops and missiles had been spotted some 57km from the border.
Venezuelan authorities have since said that the activity in the Eastern part of the country was an operational exercise, but the Guyana government has already urged citizens to use only “legal ports of entry” when visiting Venezuela.
Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge in a television statement on Tuesday night also said that the David Granger administration would continue to pursue legal means to settle the centuries old border dispute.
“The international community has agreed, and Venezuela is part of the G77 for example...that disputes, disagreements will be settled peacefully, the principle of co-existence of states is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and Guyana remains committed to that principle and would regard any act that is inconsistent with that principle as a breach of international law”.
Venezuela has renewed its claim to the mineral and forest-rich Essequibo region and all of the Atlantic Sea off the Essequibo Region.
Maduro issued a Decree on May 26 that includes all the Atlantic waters off the Essequibo Coast.
The purported annexation of the waters off Essequibo now takes in the oil-rich Stabroek Block, where American oil giant Exxon Mobil in May found a “significant” reserve of high quality crude oil.
ExxonMobil said the discovery was made in one of the two wells it dug, in the Liza-1 drill site, which realised more than 295 feet of high-quality oil-bearing sandstone.
At the end of their annual summit in Barbados in July, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries reaffirmed the “longstanding, deep and wide-ranging friendship between CARICOM and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”.
Last weekend, President David Granger said the message he would be taking to the United Nations remains unchanged, as it relates to Guyana’s position on Venezuela.
Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman has urged Guyanese not to panic and said there is no reason at this point to believe that there will be an invasion by the Venezuelan army.
“Venezuela is well aware that the world is watching… we don’t anticipate any use of force… so far it is a display of force,” Trotman said, adding that the show of force by Venezuela appears to be more political than military.


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