ExxonMobil reminds oil search contract is with Guyana …as Gov’t responds swiftly to Maduro’s threats
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge

VENEZUELAN President Nicolas Maduro, in a glaring about turn of foreign policy from predecessor Hugo Chavez, has signed an official Presidential Decree, in the neighbouring South American country, claiming just over two thirds of Guyana’s territory, including its offshore jurisdiction.The Guyana Government has since swiftly responded to Maduro and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela’s attempt to annex maritime spaces pertaining to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana as downright illegal, and an act that will be resisted.

President Nicolas Maduro
President Nicolas Maduro

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Granger-led Administration, yesterday, by way of public missive, dismissed the Maduro decree, saying it “cannot be applicable to any part of Guyana’s territory and any attempt by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to apply that instrument in an extra-territorial manner will be vigorously resisted by the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.”
The Guyana Government said it will spare no effort in bringing to the attention of the international community this aggressive and illegal act by Venezuela.
Maduro issued the decree on May 27 last, which seeks to violate Guyana’s territory. The Guyana Government has since dismissed the Maduro presidential decree as a flagrant violation of international law.
The Guyana Government maintains that the decree “is inconsistent with the principle that all states should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states, large and small.”
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement, “The Cooperative Republic of Guyana rejects this illegality which seeks to undermine our efforts at development through the exploitation of our natural resources off-shore.”
Mere days before the Maduro decree, ExxonMobil, an American company contracted to search for oil offshore Guyana, in its Stabroek Block—now claimed by Venezuela—announced a significant discovery of the crude.
The Guyana Chronicle understands that a high level meeting was arranged between senior Government officials and the Exxon Mobil team yesterday, but this was cancelled.
Calrton James, Exxon Mobil’s Public Relation’s Officer, told this publication the reasons for the cancellation were not communicated to him, but reiterated the position of the company when Venezuela had initially objected to its search.
James reminded that ExxonMobil is under contract with the Government of Guyana and pronouncements by Venezuela do not change this.
He further stated that ExxonMobil will not pronounce on Government to Government relations.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in its missive yesterday, said Guyana will continue, undeterred, to access and develop its resources in accordance with its Constitution and laws in keeping with the principles of international law.
“Guyana denounces this decree which is a violation of international law…It is international law that must reign supreme, and not the ambitions of a larger state which wishes to trample upon the rights of a smaller country in order to obstruct the sovereign right of Guyana to develop its natural resources.”
Government maintains that the land boundary between Guyana and Venezuela, which was defined by the Arbitral Award of 1899, is recognised by all states. Venezuela also recognised its border with Guyana as settled for over 60 years, having also participated in the demarcation of this established boundary which was completed in 1905.
Guyana says it is concerned that the decree disregards international law, constitutes a threat to regional peace and security, and breaches the Geneva Agreement of 1966.
“It is therefore imperative that Venezuela adheres to the principles of international law in seeking to delineate its maritime boundaries with neighbouring states, pending actual delimitations.”
Meanwhile, the recently ousted People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) yesterday joined in condemning the actions on the part of the Venezuelan President.

By Gary Eleazar


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