Venezuela and Guyana will resolve territory dispute peacefully

Jun 12, 2015 12:00 AM

The two South American nations have avoided a larger diplomatic row by agreeing to settle their territory dispute through open dialogue.

Venezuela welcomed Friday the recent decision by Guyana's foreign affairs minister to respect a 1966 Geneva Agreement between the two countries, putting to rest a territorial dispute that arose earlier this week.

In a statement released Friday, the Venezuelan foreign ministry said the country “welcomes the recent statements by Guyanese foreign minister, Carl Greenidge” who ensured that Guyana “has decided to benefit from the joint 1966 Geneva agreement,” referring to the document signed by the governments of Venezuela, Guyana and the United Kingdom.

The document outlines various mechanisms to resolve controversy over the disputed territory, including the creation of a joint commission to engage in peaceful dialogue.

The announcement puts a halt to what could have become a larger diplomatic row, after vast oil reserves were found in the disputed territory that lies between the two South American countries. According to media reports, Guyana was on the verge of asking the United Nations to intervene in the matter.

The spat began after transnational oil company Exxon Mobil reported that it had made a significant oil discovery in territory that has been disputed between the two South American nations for over a century.

Guyana responded by making an agreement with Exxon granting it permission to explore the region, which Venezuela considered a “provocation” and called for a dialogue between the two nations to settle the dispute, according to the 1966 agreement.

The decision of the government of Guyana to promote discussions with the Venezuelan foreign ministry to find an agreement for the territorial dispute has advanced the bilateral agenda for the development of both nations, according to Venezuelan officials.

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