The presidents of Venezuela and Guyana, Nicolas Maduro and Irfaan Ali, are scheduled to meet on Thursday at a summit regarding their border dispute. Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said yesterday that the meeting will be held on the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Caracas claims the oil-rich Essequibo region, which has been part of Guyana for more than a century, as its own territory.
In his capacity as acting chairman of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Gonsalves said that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will also participate in the meeting. Several South American countries called on Venezuela and Guyana to resolve the conflict peacefully and warned against “unilateral measures.”
Large oil deposits
About 125,000 of Guyana’s 800,000 residents live in the Essequibo region, which makes up about two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. Guyana points out that the current borders were determined by an arbitral tribunal in 1899. Venezuela, on the other hand, claims that the Essequibo River in the east of the region forms a natural border that was recognized as early as 1777.
Caracas’s desires increased, especially after the oil company ExxonMobil discovered an oil deposit in the region in 2015. Another important oil discovery was made in the region in October, increasing Guyana’s reserves to at least 10 billion barrels – more From the oil-rich reserves of Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates.
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