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MERCOSUR to hold special meeting on Guyana-Venezuela border controversy

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

Reproduced from El Universal

In the Summit of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) on Friday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that a special meeting will be held within the framework of the regional body to address a border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela.

“I would like to thank you all for agreeing to call a special meeting of Mercosur in Asunción, Paraguay, at the end of August,” Maduro said during his speech at the presidential summit of Mercosur.

Although the date of the meeting was not scheduled, Maduro welcomed the initiative from Mercosur and the possibility of fostering peace initiatives in the region.

In addition, the Venezuelan president explained that the Good Officer of the United Nations to mediate in the dispute was yet to be appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and highlighted that such decision would also be announced by the pro-tempore presidency of Mercosur, as agreed in talks with Uruguayan President Tabaré Vásquez.

Guyana’s President, David Granger raised the matter of the protection of sovereignty during his address at the summit held on Thursday and Friday in Brazil.

 Granger urged on Friday Mercosur member countries to “help this small State” in the “defense of its sovereignty” and “the integrity of its territory,” in reference to the territorial dispute with Venezuela.

Granger delivered a speech at the 48th Mercosur Summit shortly after the address of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who also referred to the border dispute over the Essequibo.

The president of Guyana said that Mercosur had “the duty” to be “vigilant” in the face of this conflict, and urged the leaders of the bloc to “ensure the sovereignty of the small States of the continent.”

Granger openly criticized a decree signed in May by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro declaring all maritime waters off the Essequibo coast as Venezuelan territory.