France recommits to full-fledged diplomatic presence in Guyana, respect for sovereignty

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The French Government is currently not represented by an Embassy in Guyana but on Monday its Chargé d’Affaires José Gomez recommitted to establishing a full-fledged diplomatic presence here.

Since 2021, France has had a representative in Guyana in the person of Pierre Gaté but Gomez has noted that interesting avenues are opening up for a ramping up of bilateral relations.

He made these statements as he and Gaté hosted government officials and members of the diplomatic grouping and civil society for the celebration of the Bastille Day – a declaration of human rights – at the Black Magenta (Georgetown Club).

Gomez noted Guyana’s proximity to France’s overseas territory French Guiana on the South American continent, sharing what is referred to as the Guiana Sheild.

He said no longer should Guyana look outside the region to distant partners for support but France increasingly feels the need to strengthen intra-regional cooperation.

“In this context, the relations of French Guiana, and France as a whole, with Guyana are called upon to develop,” he said.

Prime Minister Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips represented the government at the celebrations along with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd and Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh.

(Center) Prime Minister Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips (right) Chargé d’Affaires José Gomez [Photo: Keno George/ July 11, 2022]
PM Phillips said the government was pleased that France has taken the step to have a physical presence in Georgetown and hopes that soon it will be translated into the establishment of a mission and embassy.

The relationship between France and Guyana has benefited over the years from the firm relations established in 1967.

Meanwhile, the French Chargé d’Affaires used the occasion to register support for Guyana’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“France and Guyana are two democracies, our two countries love peace; France considers that disagreements between nations must be settled by means of dialogue or international law and this is, I believe, also the position of Guyana,” Gomez said as he also condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Guyana has had a longstanding border controversy with its western neigbhour Venezuela which is currently before the International Court of Justice.

But beyond that France has restated its support in fighting for biodiversity and against climate change.

France is one of the industrialized countries with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions: it represents only 1.2% of global emissions.

The first French-Guyanese cooperation project, launched in 2021, is intended to preserve the tropical forest and support the Amerindian populations who live there.

In terms of cooperation, other projects are in preparation and France hopes that the French Development Agency will soon be able to initiate programs in Guyana.

Between the two countries, ties in terms of education and culture are set to develop.

Gomez said too that French businessmen are becoming aware of the opportunities offered by the economic development of Guyana.

“I am confident that their presence in Guyana will significantly improve in the next years,” he added.

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