Venezuela’s Foreign Minister says pursuing early release of Guyanese fishermen, vessels

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Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd has held talks with his Venezuelan counterpart, Jorge Arreaza, on the detention of 12 Guyanese fishermen and two Guyanese registered vessels in the neighbouring country.

In a short statement from the ministry, it was pointed out that the virtual meeting with the Venezuelan Minister of the People’s Power for Foreign Affairs was cordial.  Arreaza undertook to pursue the early release of the men, Guyana’s Foreign Ministry noted.

“The Foreign Ministers exchanged views within the context of the detention of the vessels and crew,” the statement added.

The Venezuelan Foreign Minister assured that the crew members were being treated with utmost respect for their human rights, the statement noted. The 12 Guyanese fishermen and their two vessels have been detained in Venezuela for the last four days despite calls from the Guyana Government for their release.

Earlier on Monday, Todd dispatched a note of protest to the Venezuela authorities. Todd summoned the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Embassy of Venezuela, Mr. Moses Chavez, to transfer the protest note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela.

The protest note firmly condemned the illegal detention of the captains and crews of the Guyanese registered fishing vessels, the Lady Nayera and the Sea Wolf, and calls for their immediate release.

On Thursday, January 21, 2021, the two vessels were intercepted by Venezuelan naval vessel Commandante Hugo Chavez, while operating off the coast of Waini Point, in Guyana’s waters.

Todd also met with Prem Kumar Lallbachan and Trevor Daniels, owners of the detained Guyanese registered fishing vessels. The Foreign Minister pledged to remain in contact with the owners and share updates as they occur.

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