Venezuela’s violation of Argle Declaration “highly regrettable” – Minister Benn

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn

Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn has called out Venezuela over its blatant violation of the Argle Declaration – a peace pact signed between President Dr Irfaan Ali and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, last year.

On Thursday, it was reported that the Venezuelan Parliament approved the creation of a new state in the Spanish-speaking nation with the Essequibo – two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.

“We deplore [and] we are unhappy that the Government of Venezuela and its National Assembly just yesterday agreed that they will make Essequibo formerly – no longer a zone in Reclamación (Zone in Reclamation) but Venezuelan territory. This is highly regrettable and it violates the principles of the good-faith discussions which were undertaken at Argyle and more laterally in Brazil,” Benn stated this morning.

He was at the time speaking at the Regional Security System (RSS) Council of Ministers’ Meeting being held in Georgetown today.

In December 2023, Presidents Ali and Maduro signed the Argyle Declaration in which they agreed not to use force or threaten the use of force in the border controversy. They also agreed that controversies between the two States would be resolved by international law, including the Geneva Agreement.

Since that development in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the foreign ministers of both nations met in Brazil to continue talks on both countries working together in areas of common interest.

According to Minister Benn, while Guyana looks forward to “reasonable, rational conversations and engagement” with the Spanish-speaking nation not only to maintain peace between the two countries but also within the region, Guyana is unequivocally committed to resolving the decades-old border controversy via judicial settlement.

Venezuela continues to lay claim to more than two-thirds of Guyana’s landmass, the Essequibo, and a portion of its exclusive economic zone in which almost 11 billion barrels of oil have been discovered over the past eight years, and in which oil production activities are ongoing.

In 2018, Guyana moved to the International Court of Justice, seeking a final and binding ruling on the October 3, 1899, Arbitral Award to settle the longstanding border controversy.