According to Nicolas Maduro, the consultative referendum on the territorial dispute with neighboring Guyana strengthened the community on the issue of Venezuela's ownership of the region.
Caracas, January 16. /TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has once again asserted his country's rights to Guyana's Essequibo region, the subject of a territorial dispute with neighboring Guyana.
“The Basic Law to Protect Guyana Essequibo will be adopted soon,” Maduro said in his annual address to the National Assembly on Monday, which was broadcast by all Venezuelan television channels. Parliament approved a bill on first reading to officially establish Guyana's Essequibo State as the 24th state of Venezuela on December 6, 2023.
According to Maduro, the consultative referendum on the territorial dispute with neighboring Guyana, held on December 3, strengthened the community on the issue of Venezuela's ownership of the region, “despite political, social, economic, religious and cultural differences.”
“Today, we have a national mandate, and a special plan confirmed to make the slogan alive and clear in the hearts of our children, men and women: 'The Venezuelan sun rises in Essequibo!'” the Venezuelan president said to everyone's applause. Legislators, military personnel, ministers and party leaders attended.
The dispute between Caracas and Georgetown over ownership of lands covering an area of 159,500 square kilometers west of the Essequibo River has been going on for more than a century. The regional dispute was exacerbated by the discovery of oil fields containing at least 10 billion barrels of oil in 2015 and the concession granted by Guyana to oil giant ExxonMobil to produce oil on Guyana's continental shelf, the borders of which have not been demarcated.
On December 14, Venezuela and Guyana agreed not to use force in their border dispute, after negotiations in Kingstown, the capital of the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean Sea. The two parties also pledged to ensure that Latin America remains a zone of peace, and said that they would refrain from escalating the situation in the disputed border region.
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