Guyana welcomes int’l coalition support to address border issue – President Ali affirms

Acknowledging the potential threat posed by Venezuela’s actions to national security President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali stated that Guyana is welcoming while utilising an international coalition for support, in case the situation escalates.

President Ali was at the time speaking during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

Many organisations and governments have signalled their support for Guyana, including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

According to the president, the government’s engagements with its international partners are in the interest of enhancing the country’s defence capacity.

“We have made it very clear that if there is any breach in our territorial space, if there is any action by anyone to destabilise our country and invade in any shape or form, we will call on every force, every friend to help us and to work with us to protect our territorial integrity,” he told the BBC.

President Ali emphasised that diplomacy remains Guyana’s first line of defence.  However, the government recognises the gravity of the situation and is making investments to boost the country’s military capacity.

The 2024 budget allocated $42.2 billion to the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) for increased investments in both material and human resources.

“We recognise that we are dealing with a neighbour that is aggressive, that has made certain threats, and we are investing in our military, the technology of our military and the infrastructure,” the president said.

He continued, We have aligned ourselves with countries and a region that is on the side of Guyana….so we are working on the basis of an international coalition that would not allow this region to be destabilised by any action by Venezuela to overrun our territorial integrity or our borders.”

The controversy surrounding two-thirds of Guyana’s territory was settled in 1899, through an Arbitral Award.

However, during the early 1960s, Venezuela’s claims to the Essequibo region resurged, and the country threatened physical invasion.

Despite interim measures put forward by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the Argyle Declaration, both of which declared that the two countries will desist from any actions that exacerbate the territorial controversy, Venezuela has been persistent in its aggressive claims to Guyana’s Essequibo.

Recently, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, appealed to the 148th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland to condemn the most recent action of Venezuela, which was to declare Guyana’s Essequibo region as a Venezuelan state.

The Government of Guyana is firm that the matter must be resolved by the ICJ.

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