Caracas (OrinocoTribune.com)—In the midst of the dispute over the Essequibo territory, the government of Guyana has appointed Richard Van West-Charles as its new ambassador to Venezuela. The decision was announced by Guyana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hugh Todd, who indicated that they are currently awaiting the acceptance of West-Charles’ credentials by Venezuela.
Todd stated this Tuesday, September 26, that the appointment of the new ambassador “demonstrates inclusive governance.” Richard Van West-Charles is the son-in-law of the late Guyanese President Forbes Burnham, and he is an executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC).
Un sujeto sin experiencia diplomática es nombrado Embajador de Guyana en Venezuela. Yerno de Forbes Burnham, líder guyanes quien odiaba a nuestro país a muerte.
— Mi Mapa de Venezuela incluye nuestro Esequibo (@AntroCanal) September 26, 2023
Richard Van West-Charles previously served as the head of Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), and holds no diplomatic experience. Guyana has had no formal ambassador to Venezuela since 2019, following the removal of Cheryl Miles, who was appointed as head of the diplomatic delegation in 2016, from her position.
Carlos Amador Perez Silva, the former Venezuelan ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, is Venezuela’s ambassador to Guyana, after President Irfaan Ali accepted his credentials last year. He was appointed in this role by President Maduro’s administration in February of 2022.
The appointment of Richard Van West-Charles comes after President Nicolás Maduro invited his Guyanese counterpart to hold a face-to-face meeting to discuss the disputed territory, following the Guyanese president’s arbitrary decision to allow oil production in disputed waters, in clear violation of the 1966 Geneva Agreement.
Misrepresentation at UN
Last Thursday, the Venezuelan government issued an official statement questioning Guyana’s attempts at the United Nations General Assembly to misrepresent the spirits of recent statements issued by the Venezuelan government. The statements were in response to the arbitrary and unilateral decisions taken by Guyana’s authorities, in contravention of the aforementioned Geneva Agreement.
Venezuela’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs has also launched an initiative to bring the diplomatic corps in the country up to speed about all the historical and legal arguments that support Venezuela’s claims over the Essequibo territory.
Below is the full unofficial translation of the statement issued by the Venezuelan government:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela strongly rejects that the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and, in particular, the statement of its Ambassador to the United Nations, Carolyn Rodrigues-Bricket, dated September 26, 2023, pretend to distort and manipulate before the international community, the spirit of the official communiqués recently issued by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the speech delivered by Foreign Minister Yván Gil before the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2023.
Venezuela ratifies the words of its Foreign Minister, regarding the US interventionism in the territorial controversy with Guyana, which is the product of a dispossession carried out by the British Empire in 1899, invoking the Monroe Doctrine and even trying to militarize the region, through the recurrent realization of military exercises with intimidation purposes, as well as the protection of actions undertaken by the transnational Exxon Mobil, which has openly become the main financial support of the Guyanese political class.
In addition, and in the interest of transparency, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela states the following:
1. The official pronouncements issued by the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in no way constitute a threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.
2. Venezuela’s historical performance has demonstrated its respect for international law and for the maintenance of international peace and security, which today are precisely the safeguards that assist it in preserving its integrity.
3. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates its firm decision to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and therefore ratifies the contents of the official communiqués issued on September 19, 20 and 23, 2023, as well as the statement of the Foreign Minister of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela before the United Nations General Assembly, which present the arguments of the Venezuelan State in the just and necessary defense of its security and territorial integrity.
4. Guyana’s unilateral activities are not in accordance with international law, since they are intended to be carried out in maritime zones pending delimitation and affect Venezuelan maritime territory.
5. By asserting, among other irregularities and illegalities, that “all the activities that Guyana has authorized, including in its Stabroek Block, have been, are being or will be carried out in maritime zones in which only Guyana enjoys sovereignty or exclusive sovereign rights,” Guyana seeks to unilaterally convert its claim into an established maritime boundary. This position is contrary to international law and basic principles of law applicable to the delimitation of maritime boundaries, which establishes that these boundaries can only be established by agreement between the States. In relation to the dispute over the Essequibo territory, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates that the Geneva Agreement of 1966 outlines a road map agreed upon by both parties to reach a peaceful resolution to the dispute, through political negotiation, and, in this regard, ratifies its willingness to participate in a high-level meeting, promoted by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in order to, in an atmosphere of friendship, mutual respect and good neighborliness, continue with the negotiations provided for in that legal instrument.
Caracas, September 27, 2023
Special for Orinoco Tribune by staff
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