Georgetown, Guyana – (July 12, 2018) President David Granger, this morning, said that the friendship and cooperation between Guyana and Brazil, which has been characterised by peace, respect for territorial integrity and mutual interests is set to be further strengthened in the coming months as the two South American nations work to build more solidly on 50 years of bilateral ties.
Speaking during an interview at the conclusion of a meeting with visiting Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Aloysio Nunes Ferreira at State House, the President said that this year marks 50 years of friendship and strong bilateral ties between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Federative Republic of Brazil. He noted that while the two countries have enjoyed cooperation in a number of areas, they must now take the opportunity to build on the solid foundation, which exists.
“The cooperation has been very wide. As I pointed out, I was one of the first two (Army) Officers to be trained in Brazil 49 years ago, so we had defence cooperation since 1969. It has gone into fields of education, the fields of agriculture, infrastructure development, and you would be surprised at the amount of interaction that has taken place at the level of ordinary residents moving to and from the two countries. Many residents from the Rupununi would go across to Brazil for medical treatment so there are many areas of cooperation but what we are looking at now is the future. We are not looking at the past and we feel that the relations now between these two mature nations should be put on a sounder footing,” the Head of State said.
President Granger noted that the visit comes at a time not only when the two countries are celebrating this milestone but at a time when there is a changing strategic scenario in Northern South America and the world, particularly in the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. In this regard, he noted that it is important that the two states renew their relationship as well as seek to build on new ground while formulating a coordinated approach where needed.
“We have not been able to fulfil our dreams of infrastructural integration but there are several other areas of concern. One, of course, is the situation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. As you know thousands of refugees have gone south into Brazil, many more in Colombia, some have come into Guyana and into Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, we need to have a common push to deal with this humanitarian crisis. The situation was also changing in the hemisphere and the world. As you know, the US Government, the UK Government, the EU have all been affected by some economic changes and it will eventually have an impact on Guyana and in that way, it is necessary for two neighbouring states to coordinate their positions so that there is some convergence of views. We have always had cordial relations with Brazil at a strategic level,” he said.
From an environmental point of view, President Granger noted that given the fact that both Brazil and Guyana are part of the Amazonia river system, the matter of environmental security and protection were discussed, particularly in the light of the flooding in Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine).
“Sometimes Guyanese wonder that the rain is not falling but the water is rising and some parts of Guyana particularly the Rupununi is being subjected to flood waters over the last weeks or so. It is apparent that flooding is not something that is generated in Guyana. So we need to look across the borders because the water doesn’t stop at the borders, animals do not stop at the borders, so Guyana and Brazil need to work together to ensure that there is environmental security and environmental protection of our flora and fauna. We are also looking at sustainable development, looking at ensuring that on both sides of the border, standards are applied,” the President said.
The Head of State also noted that the preservation of South America as a ‘zone of peace’ is essential to Guyana’s existence. Brazil, he said, has remained resolute in its commitment to peace on the continent and Guyana is grateful for Brazil’s consistent and unwavering support, over the past 50 years, for the peaceful settlement of the territorial controversy with Venezuela.
“Brazil is the largest state on the continent of South America and from the start of the controversy, Brazil has made it clear that it had no interests in redrawing the borders with any state. Brazil has borders with almost every state on the continent except two, so once people start tinkering with borders it will be an enormous headache for Brazil. Brazil put its foot down from the start and I think that was an important factor in convincing our neighbours that there will be no land grabbing on this continent. So, we are very grateful to Brazil and the Brazilian Ministry of External Affairs has always been known for taking a principled position and it has never varied. They have been a guarantor of Guyana’s territorial integrity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Nunes Ferreira, in his remarks, noted that the relationship between Guyana and Brazil is as a result of shared goals including peace, stability and prosperity. He noted that as the two countries celebrate 50 years of friendship, it is the intention to have more meetings and high-level interactions to discuss issues such as health, infrastructure, security, defence and other matters with a view of increasing collaboration and cooperation.
He noted that of particular interest is the construction of the Linden-Lethem Highway, which will not only deepen relations but also provide a vehicle for enhanced trade between the two countries.
Following the meeting with the Head of State, the Brazilian Foreign Minister met with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge and his team to discuss and iron out the technical details and agreements with regard to the areas of cooperation between the two nations.