UK Minister meets with Pres. Ali; reaffirms support for Guyana amid border controversy

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

President Dr Irfaan Ali this morning met with the Under Secretary of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, David Rutley at State House.

Discussions focused on the continuation and expansion of the relationship between the UK and Guyana, especially in areas of sustainable and economic development and security.

Mr Rutley, the UK Minister for the Americas, was accompanied by the FCDO’s Americas Director, Robert Tinline and the United Kingdom’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips; Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd; National Security Advisor, Captain Gerry Gouveia; Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Omar Khan and the Director of Presidential Affairs, Mrs Marcia Nadir-Sharma were also part of the meeting.

See below full release from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

The UK will today (18 December) reaffirm its support for Guyana on the first ministerial visit to the country from a G7 nation since the Venezuelan regime renewed its border claim on the Essequibo region.

David Rutley, the British Minister for the Americas, Caribbean and Overseas Territories, will meet President Ali and senior government and military officials to stress unequivocal backing for Guyana’s territorial integrity.

The UK has welcomed talks between Nicolás Maduro and President Ali in St Vincent on 14 December, where the leaders pledged there would be no use of military force over the border issue.

Minister for the Americas, Caribbean and Overseas Territories David Rutley said:

I am in Guyana, a fellow Commonwealth member, to offer the UK’s unequivocal backing to our Guyanese friends.

The border issue has been settled for over 120 years. Sovereign borders must be respected wherever they are in the world.

We welcome the recent agreement by Venezuela in St Vincent to refrain from the use of force and any further escalation.

The UK will continue to work with partners in the region, as well as through international bodies, to ensure the territorial integrity of Guyana is upheld.

On 3 December the Venezuelan regime held a referendum asking voters to approve the incorporation of the Essequibo region of Guyana into Venezuela against the will of the people who live there.

The Essequibo region makes up two-thirds of Guyana’s territory. The border lines were settled by international arbitration in 1899.

During his visit, the Minister will also meet Ambassadors from the United States, Canada and the European Union to discuss international support for Guyana.

While in Georgetown, Minister Rutley will hold talks with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General and meet business leaders to hear how they have been affected by the situation.

He will also lay a wreath to honour five Guyanese service personnel killed in a recent helicopter crash.

Minister Rutley previously visited Guyana in March, when he was a passenger on board the inaugural direct British Airways flight from London and attended the launch of the British Chamber of Commerce.