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Venezuela, Guyana agree to renew UN Good Officer’s tenure

President Donald Ramotar (left) and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro sign a Declaration at the end of their talks in Georgetown.

Guyana and Venezuela on Saturday agreed to ask International Relations Professor, Norman Girvan to continue as the United Nations (UN) Good Officer to settle the border controversy between the two South American countries.

The announcement was made during Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro’s first official visit to Guyana where he met with the country’s President, Donald Ramotar.

“We also agreed to renew the Good Officer process of the United Nations. We think that Professor Girvan has been doing a good job and we agreed that we would make that request to the United Nations to have this process continued,” said Ramotar.

Girvan, who was appointed in 2010, last month ended his term office.  The Good Officer is the United Nations Secretary General’s personal representative in ongoing discussions to settle the controversy over the mineral and forest rich Essequibo Region which makes up two-thirds of Guyana’s 83,000 square miles.

President Maduro, at a news conference he shared with his Guyanese counterpart, said the two countries were committed to the diplomatic and legal measures in settling the more than 100-year old border controversy.

“We are ready to work through the United Nations as the sole process,” said Maduro through an interpreter. He said it was now up to the teams of both countries to speedily implement the decisions.

The President of the oil-rich nation lamented the role of Western Nations, including the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in fomenting mistrust, hate and racism as part of a plot to destabilize left-leaning governments. “The purpose was to undermine the independent forces of the left and leaders of Guyana,” he said.

Maduro’s opponents at home have criticized his administration for playing a soft line on the border controversy including remaining virtually quiet about Guyana’s granting of oil exploration licenses in waters off the Essequibo Region.