Russia calls for peaceful end to Guyana-Venezuela row
MOSCOW, Russia, (AFP) – Russia on Friday called for Guyana and Venezuela to reach a “peaceful solution” to their border dispute, as tensions between the two South American countries continue to escalate.
Venezuela held a referendum that passed last Sunday to stake its claim to a large region of land recognised internationally as part of Guyana, prompting fears of a military escalation.
“We consider it a priority to reduce tension and build confidence in relations between Venezuela and Guyana,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.
“We call on the parties to refrain from any actions that could unbalance the situation and cause mutual harm,” she said.
The disputed region, named after the adjoining Essequibo river, has been part of Guyana for over a century and is home to some 125,000 of the country’s 800,000 citizens.
Venezuela, an oil-rich nation led by longtime President Nicolas Maduro, maintains close ties with Russia and has criticised the West for sanctioning Moscow over its Ukraine offensive.