Guyana not taking sides in Venezuela conflict – Foreign Minister

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Though Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana, Reina Margarita Arratia Diaz at a recent Press Conference has called on the Guyana Government to offer its support to that country to restore normalcy at the political and social levels in the Spanish-speaking state, it has not formally approached the Guyana Government.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, Guyana will continue to assist the people of Venezuela, since the country “as a matter of routine, stands ready to assist or support all CARICOM [Caribbean Community] States and immediate neighbours, where appropriate, when asked.”

He noted that so far, the Venezuelan Government had not approached Guyana for help with its current internal crisis.

“Further, in spite of the difficulties that the two countries had experienced with regards to the border controversy due to Venezuela’s continuous claim to two-thirds of Guyana’s territory, the two Governments routinely utilize direct diplomatic channels to communicate through Ambassadorial exchanges or the use of Notes Verbale to send messages and requests,” he said.

It was disclosed that Guyana convened a meeting of non-governmental organisations and the private sector to consider the deteriorating conditions in Venezuela in 2016, however, at the time, the Venezuelan Government was not open to receiving any material assistance that was being offered.

Following the recent announcement by the Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana, she was invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she stated that her country could benefit from Guyana’s support at international fora.

Minister Greenidge stressed that any support from his Government for the people of Venezuela did not indicate automatic agreement with the Venezuelan Government’s policies and its mode of implementing those.  Rather, Guyana could provide more effective assistance if it dealt fairly with all sides.

He affirmed that “the Government of Guyana has no desire to compound the problems of Venezuela by joining one or other of the protagonists.”

He pledged to communicate Venezuela’s request and that he was certain it would be given the level of attention it deserved by the Guyana Government.

Greenidge observed that Guyana’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Dr. Riyad Insanally, was the current Chair of the CARICOM group. Guyana was of the view that it was both desirable and appropriate to discuss the crisis at the OAS. Moreover, Minister Greenidge urged dialogue among all stakeholders in Venezuela, including the Government and Opposition.

Also, the Foreign Minister revealed that, already, Guyana was one of the Members of the Community of Caribbean and Latin American States (CELAC) that met to try to resolve Venezuela’s deteriorating situation as well as the one between its Government and Opposition. Guyana had done the same with another regional body, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

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