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The AFC notes the announcement by the Office of the President of an imminent meeting with the President of Venezuela.
We observe that the meeting will be held in the multilateral context of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC).
We acknowledge the revelation that the President has ruled out any possibility of the border controversy being on the agenda of the meeting. We note, however, the caption enclosed in the letter on the meeting sent to both the President of Guyana and the President of Venezuela. It clearly indicates: ‘…matters consequential to the border controversy.
In consideration of the foregoing, the AFC wishes to posit the following questions: 1. What is on the agenda for the meeting?
- Is the meeting’s agenda approved?
- If so, what are the agenda items?
- Are the Venezuelans clear that the meeting will not include the border controversy?
Guyana has always, and must continue to, clothe herself in the armor of international law and international institutions, including the United Nations, regarding our territorial integrity. Any dangerous venture into bilateral discussions, which Venezuela has always sought to pressure
Guyana into, tramples on decades of skilled diplomacy executed by successive Guyanese governments. Guyana has always and will continue to promote peace and stability in the region.
The very existence of this meeting, outside of the halls of the ICJ, could constitute a victory for the coercive tactics of the Venezuelan regime.
The above notwithstanding, we cannot ignore that the Maduro regime has held a Referendum to annex 2/3 of Guyana. We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that in clear violation of the ICJ, Venezuela declared the Essequibo to be their territory as a new state. We cannot pay deference to the fact that President Maduro has issued seven orders and signed decrees that blatantly show no regard for our territorial integrity. And we will never forget that our country now mourns the loss of five fallen heroes who died in the line of duty to protect our territorial integrity.
In consideration of the foregoing, the AFC wishes to place on record that if there is no clear agenda that excludes the border controversy for the proposed meeting, there should be no meeting.
The AFC stands firm and resolute in our position of a united front on the matter of our border integrity and we urge the Ali administration to cease making such crucial decisions without consultation. We note that the Ali administration continues with the folly of excluding the parliamentary opposition and other national stakeholders in the decision‐making on a matter that touches and concerns every Guyanese, and cautions again, that this will not auger well for Guyana’s standing and response to Venezuela.