Granger open to talks with Venezuelan President on Border Controversy

Georgetown, Guyana (CMC) — In a bid to resolve the row between Guyana and Venezuela, President David Granger has expressed willingness to speak with his counterpart Nicolas Maduro when world leaders head to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge told reporters that “there is room for discussion in an appropriate forum and if that is in the margins of the UN or anywhere else then that’s not a problem.”

However, Greenidge said there was no proposal for the leaders to hold talks. “We are not meeting one-on-one. There is no proposal to meet one-on-one and I don’t know what would be the objective of such a one-on-one,” said the Foreign Minister.

Maduro said that the Guyana-Venezuela controversy would be discussed at a upcoming Latin American meeting. Venezuela continues to claim the Essequibo Region, saying that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award was concocted in favour of then British Guiana.

Guyana is pushing for UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to order a judicial settlement of the controversy over the ruling of the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award that settled the land-border controversy between the two countries. Guyana is expected to reiterate that position when Ban’s envoy visits Georgetown “soon.”

Earlier this week, Maduro said he asked the UN Secretary General to mediate in the border dispute.

Followng the meeting on Tuesday, Maduro told reporters that “We will continue to work through diplomatic means….we will overcome the provocations and aggressions of Granger.”

A statement from the UN’s Media office said the Secretary General took note of Maduro’s views regarding the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and reiterated his assurances of the readiness of the UN Secretariat to discuss the way forward with both Governments”.

A bitter row erupted between the two countries ever since the American oil exploration company, ExxonMobil, announced in May that it had found a “significant” deposit of high quality crude oil offshore Guyana.

Venezuela reacted by unilaterally delineating its maritime boundary to take in all of the Atlantic waters off the Essequibo Coast which includes the location of the oil exploration rig.

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