“We are doing everything to ensure the zone remains a zone of peace” – Pres. Ali tells CBS News

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali continues to reaffirm his commitment to a peaceful resolution to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy.

In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, President Ali underscored, “We are doing everything to ensure the zone remains a zone of peace…. This is an important part of the Western Hemisphere.”

The president highlighted the strong support Guyana has been receiving from the Organization of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth group of countries, and CARICOM leaders.

He said Guyana has also been reaching out to leaders of countries such as the United States, India, and Cuba in an effort to encourage Venezuela to respect international law and abide by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“We don’t believe that Venezuela would act in this reckless way. But if they do act in this reckless way, we are already cooperating with friends within the region. We have defense cooperation with the United States of America. We are working closely with SOUTHCOM,” he added.

When asked about Guyana’s preparations in case of a potential ‘annexation’ of the Essequibo, the head of state said a comprehensive approach is being taken to educate the world about the issue, informing the relevant authorities, along with constant monitoring of what the Spanish-speaking territory is doing.

“It means ensuring that our diplomatic work is at its highest level because we want this to be resolved in a peaceful manner. It means encouraging the Venezuelans and the Venezuelan people, the leadership of Venezuela to do what is right for the region to accept a rules-based system,” the head of state explained.

President Ali emphasised that the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy was definitively settled in 1899. Both Venezuela and then British Guiana actively participated in reaching an agreement on the border, which was subsequently recognised in Venezuela’s local laws.

Regarding Venezuela’s recent stance on the ICJ, President Ali pointed out that the Spanish-speaking country has already participated in the process, having twice sought a ruling on its jurisdiction. He said Venezuela’s current claim of non-participation is inconsistent with its past actions.

However, the president acknowledged that Venezuela is grappling with various challenges, including political, democratic, and societal.

“Many believe that this is a distraction to what obtains in Venezuela now, but we are taking this very seriously because of the narrative that is coming out of Venezuela, the threat that comes out of Venezuela, and recently, Venezuela’s open defiance of the International Court of Justice,” President Ali said.

He reiterated his desire for a peaceful resolution to the border dispute, stating that it is crucial for the stability of the region.