Georgetown, Guyana – (September 27, 2015) President David Granger said that he is convinced that the outcome would be favourable, in terms of the region remaining a zone of peace now that Cuba has been briefed on the territorial threat Guyana faces from Venezuela. Earlier today, President Granger met with Cuba’s President, Raul Castro, for bilateral talks, at the United Nations Headquarters.
“We took the opportunity to thank the Cuban leader for the support they have given. They have played a very important role in the Caribbean and Africa, as well as a great humanitarian role. We were particularly concerned about the territorial controversy,” President Granger said.
He told local journalists that his government is aware that Cuba is very close to Venezuela and it is for this reason that he would certainly want Cuba to use its influence to help bring a speedy end to the controversy. “Guyana has lost territory to Venezuela, as you know, in the 1899 Tribunal award and we want to get ahead with our development and we believe that Cuba’s weight in the Caribbean could influence the outcome in ensuring that the Caribbean remains a zone of peace,” President Granger said.
Further, the President emphasised Guyana’s role in support of Cuba. “As you know Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica were instrumental in working for the normalisation of relations with Cuba since the early 1970s. We have a long tradition of friendship. We have many Cuba trained doctors and many points of contact between the two states,” President Granger said.
Noting that Cuba could play a significant role in resolving the border issue between Guyana and Venezuela, President Granger said, “We feel that, to the extent that Cuba decides to get involved, the outcome would be favorable in ensuring that the Caribbean remains a zone of peace.”
In the meantime, the President said that leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, he will try to meet with as many Commonwealth States as possible, prior to that meeting, which is to be held in Malta in November of this year.
“The Foreign Minister and I will take very opportunity to present Guyana’s interest and to ensure that this obnoxious claim is removed so we can move ahead with our development,” President Granger said.
Meanwhile, even as President Granger continues to seek support from nations around the world, he is preparing for a meeting under the auspices of the United Nations, with the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro. According to President Granger that meeting has already been confirmed.
In response to questions on media reports that Venezuela has begun to withdraw military troops and equipment from the borders, President Granger said if this is so, it is a welcome move by Venezuela. The President stated that what would be even more welcome, would be the restoration of normal relations including the return of the Venezuelan Ambassador. “You cannot expect us to talk and remove the persons who do the talking. We want agrément, because the ambassadors are the two point persons through [whom] the two countries can communicate quickly and effectively,” President Granger pointed out.