Historic Summit: Venezuela and Guyana to Resolve Century-Old Dispute!

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is set to host a pivotal meeting between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Guyanese President Mohamed Irfaan Ali

by Faruk Imamovic
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Historic Summit: Venezuela and Guyana to Resolve Century-Old Dispute!
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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is set to host a pivotal meeting between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Guyanese President Mohamed Irfaan Ali. The talks, scheduled for December 14, 2023, aim to address the long-standing territorial dispute between the two countries.

A Step Toward Resolving the Dispute

The upcoming summit, under the auspices of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), represents a significant step in the efforts to resolve the territorial disagreement that has persisted for over a century.

"The presidents will meet in [the island nation of] Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday, December 14, 2023, under the auspices of CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), on matters related to the border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela," stated the government's communique.

This meeting follows a series of diplomatic engagements, including a phone conversation between Maduro and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, where the proposal for the summit was discussed.

Background of the Territorial Dispute

The dispute centers around a 159,500-square-kilometer area west of the Essequibo River. Tensions escalated following the discovery of oil fields containing at least ten billion barrels of oil in 2015 and Guyana granting ExxonMobil the concession to explore oil in the offshore areas that had not been delimited.

In a recent development, about 95% of participants in a December 3 consultative referendum voted in favor of creating the Guayana Esequiba state and making it part of Venezuela. Following this, Venezuela's National Assembly passed a bill on the protection of Guyana-Essequibo within Venezuela, proposing the creation of the 24th state in the disputed territory.

The dispute's roots trace back to a court ruling in 1899, which was influenced by fake maps and pressure from the UK, awarding most of the disputed area to British Guiana. Venezuela maintains that Guyana-Essequibo is its legitimate territory and insists on direct border talks with Guyana, as stipulated in the 1966 Geneva Agreement.

The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines summit offers a rare opportunity for direct dialogue between Venezuela and Guyana, potentially paving the way for a peaceful resolution to this century-old conflict.

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