The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, warned this Tuesday that a deterioration in the relationship between Venezuela and Guyana, which dispute the territory of Essequibo, could harm the entire region.
“I don’t have any predictions about how this dispute will continue, but what I wouldn’t want to happen is for the relationship between Venezuela and Guyana to deteriorate to the point where the actions harm us all, because we would all be harmed,” he said at a conference. of press.
Rowley recalled that the position of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), to which Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago belong, is that the situation remains “peaceful.”
“Guyana knows that it has the support of Caricom in this, and Venezuela also knows that Caricom supports Guyana. So let’s not overreact or overreach,” she added.
He also expressed concern that his government’s negotiations to access natural gas in the Dragon field, in Venezuelan waters, could be threatened by the territorial dispute.
Tension has escalated since Venezuela set for December 3 a referendum on “the rights” of the territory of almost 160,000 square kilometers in dispute with Guyana.
The referendum, a unilateral movement that represents Caracas’s biggest bet in this controversy, has been rejected by Caricom and the Organization of American States (OAS), among other organizations.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has ruled that it has jurisdiction over the issue, something that Venezuela rejects, held hearings with both parties last week, in which Guyana asked to take measures to “block” the consultation.
The Essequibo region, rich in natural and mineral resources, has been the center of a struggle between the parties, who have each claimed it as their own for almost 200 years.
Guyana relies on an arbitration award from 1899, which awarded it the territory (then under the rule of the United Kingdom), while Venezuela defends that the Geneva Agreement, signed in 1966, is what governs this controversy.
In addition, Venezuela rejected an oil tender announced by Guyana in September, arguing that the offshore areas are subject to dispute and the companies awarded the fields will not have the rights to explore them.
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