EU hopeful for swift resolution to ‘flying’ tensions with Venezuela

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European Union (EU) Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó is hopeful for a peaceful and rapid resolution to the new tensions arising between Guyana and Venezuela, following the entrance of the Sukhoi SU fighter jets into Guyana’s airspace on Tuesday.

“The EU has always been in favour of international law and certainly we are supporting international law not only on this problem but on every problem, and of course we also support respect for each other’s territorial integrity,” Canto highlighted in an engagement with the media on Friday.

He stressed that peaceful resolutions to such matters which are rooted in international law must be pursued, instead of violent actions. The diplomat noted that the EU was very “encouraged” by the way the Guyanese authorities resolved earlier tensions with Venezuela after the Guyanese fishermen were held illegally.

“I think this was resolved in a very relatively rapid and I would say good way because it was peaceful it was rapid and the persons could come back home relatively soon… so I really hope that this will also be the case for these latest tensions, that they will be solved as soon as possible peacefully and of course according to international law,” Canto emphasised.

Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday confirmed that at approximately 13:20 hrs on Tuesday, two Venezuelan army fighter jets flew over the community of Eteringbang and the airstrip at a very low altitude of 1,500 feet.

In condemning the latest act of aggression by the Venezuelan armed forces, the government said the fighter jets circled the location once before proceeding in an easterly direction.

Seeing it as a violation of the sovereignty of Guyana over the air above its territory, the government late Wednesday summoned the Venezuelan Ambassador to Guyana, to hand over a protest note and register its condemnation.

This latest hostility follows closely on the heels of a Decree recently issued by President Nicolas Maduro which purports to establish a maritime territory for Venezuela which encompasses Guyana’s territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, as well as its land territory west of the Essequibo River.

It also comes weeks after the illegal interception and detention of two Guyanese fishing vessels and their crew in Guyana’s waters and the resolutions of the Special Commission for the Defence of the “Guayana Esequiba” and Territorial Sovereignty which recommended the convening a session of this Special Commission to the Essequibo with the assistance of the Venezuelan armed forces.

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