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US sees no indication of imminent hostilities with ‘small-scale’ Venezuelan military movement at Guyana border

White House official maintains work done with Guyanese partners is purely for defensive purposes

WHITE House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby has said that the United States has been “monitoring closely,” the Venezuelan military movements along Guyana’s border.

During a press briefing on Monday, Kirby addressed concerns regarding satellite imagery that showed Venezuelan military assets moving along the border with Guyana.

He, however, noted that any military movements by Venezuela were considered minor.

“Our assessment is that whatever military movements there have been by Venezuela have been of a very — of a small nature and size and scale and scope. We see no indication that there’s about to be hostilities or that the Venezuelan military would be capable of conducting any significant military activities there,” Kirby stated, underscoring the U.S. stance on urging for a peaceful resolution to the situation.

Venezuela, last year, had increased claims to two-thirds of Guyana’s Essequibo region.

This area is known for its wealth in oil, timber, and other natural resources, drawing attention and contention from both sides.

In response to these claims, Guyana has been bolstering its defence and diplomatic efforts with the help of international partners, including the United States, aiming to counter security threats while promoting regional stability.

Despite these preparations, Guyanese officials have reiterated their focus on defence rather than offence.

Following Venezuela’s reaction to the docking of the British offshore patrol vessel, HMS Trent, in Guyanese waters, President Dr. Irfaan Ali clarified the nation’s defensive posture, indicating no intent to initiate conflict with Venezuela.

Amid these tensions, a significant diplomatic effort led by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines culminated in a peaceful ‘Argyle declaration’ between Guyana and Venezuela.

This agreement, reached during a historic meeting on December 14, 2023, pledged both countries to avoid the use of force, advocating for dialogue and co-operation to prevent tensions.
The longstanding border controversy, originating from the 1899 Arbitral Award, continues to be a point of contention.

Guyana’s decision to take the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2018 marked a pivotal move towards seeking a legal affirmation of the award’s legitimacy.

With the support of CARICOM, the Commonwealth, and international partners, Guyana stands firm in its legal battle, which remains under the ICJ’s consideration.

Kirby’s remarks reflect a broader international call for diplomatic resolution and stability in the region, as he concluded: “And, obviously, we’re going to continue to watch it closely. You know, I would remind you that anything that we’re doing down in Guyana or in that area is done purely for defensive purposes.”

The United States, along with the global community, continues to advocate for peace and dialogue over conflict, monitoring the situation closely as developments unfold.

Source: Guyana Chronicle