Venezuela, Guyana ministers talk amid border region tensions: statement
CARACAS, Venezuela, (AFP) – The foreign ministers of Venezuela and Guyana spoke by telephone Wednesday as tensions escalated over a disputed, oil-rich region and Brazil reinforced troops on its northern border with the two neighbours.
In Caracas, the government said its top diplomat Yvan Gil had a phone call with Guyanese counterpart Hugh Todd “to discuss the issue of the territorial dispute.”
The discussion took place at Guyana’s request, it said in a statement, and concluded in the parties agreeing to “keep the communication channels open.”
The Brazilian army, meanwhile, said it was reinforcing its presence in the northern cities of Pacaraima and Boa Vista as part of efforts “to guarantee the inviolability of the territory.”
On Tuesday, Caracas proposed a bill to create a Venezuelan province in the Essequibo region and ordered the state oil company to issue licences for extracting crude there.
Emboldened by an overwhelming “yes” vote in a controversial referendum on the region’s fate held Sunday, President Nicolas Maduro said a bill would be sent to the National Assembly to approve the creation of a “Guyana Esequiba” province in a region Guyana has administered for over a century.