PM tells South American defence and foreign ministers that Guyana committed to peace

– says Venezuela’s dispute is a threat to the peace and stability of the region

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips outlined Guyana’s steadfast commitment to “the peaceful settlement of disputes” and the need to uphold the principles of international law while emphasising the crucial role of regional cooperation in ensuring peace and security.

During his address to regional leaders, at the inaugural South American Dialogue Meeting between Defence and Foreign Ministers in Brasilia, Brazil. Prime Minister Phillips drew attention to the complex international landscape and underscored the necessity of inter-state collaboration to protect shared aspirations for regional safety and security.

“This defence forum offers a valuable platform for reinforcing our collective aspirations for a safe and secure region. We are inherently connected by geography, unified by culture, and interdependent in trade. It is through this intricate network of relationships that we strive to uphold and enhance peace and stability across our region. Brazil’s initiative to lead our region at this critical juncture is indeed commendable.”

The Prime Minister referenced the need to follow the UN Charter and international law as a “guarantee for peace”, stressing the critical importance of peaceful conflict resolution.

“Let me reaffirm, at the outset, the Government of Guyana’s commitment to the Charter of the UN, to the purposes and principles of the organisation, including the peaceful settlement of disputes.”

He explained that adherence to the tenets of the UN Charter and International Law is a “sine qua non” – a guarantee – for peace at the international and regional levels.

Prime Minister Phillips, who is a former Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), noted that as an incoming non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Guyana stands prepared to confront existing and emerging threats to international peace and security in a principled manner.

He stressed that “no effort should be spared” to avoid conflict and ensure South America remains a “zone of peace and cooperation”.

Guyana, he said, continues to condemn Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, and expressed alarm over the crisis in Gaza.

Further, he expressed Guyana’s solidarity with Haiti as he spoke about the deteriorating situation, which he described as “deeply concerning”.

Turning his attention to Venezuela’s dispute with Guyana, Prime Minister Phillips spoke extensively about the rising tensions tied to Venezuela’s long-running border dispute with our country, which is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He underscored Guyana’s peaceful approach and stated that Venezuela’s planned referendum on December 3rd jeopardises stability in the region and by challenging Guyana’s territorial sovereignty, the referendum and related rhetoric pose “an existential threat” to Guyana.

“Besides posing an existential threat to Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in violation of International Law, it represents a threat to the peace and stability of the region as a whole.”

He said that Guyana has turned to the ICJ seeking provisional measures to prevent escalation, pending the Court’s binding judgement on the underlying boundary controversy.

Commissioner of Police (ag), Mr Clifton Hicken along with GDF’s, Colonel General Staff; Colonel Kenlloyd Roberts are also part of Guyana’s delegation in Brazil.

The first South American meeting on political-military dialogue was convened by the Government of Brazil, in keeping with the mandate of the Brasilia Consensus dated May 30, 2023, which was agreed upon by the Presidents of the South American Region, aiming at the resumption of regular dialogues on strategic regional issues.

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