Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza: ‘Guyana defends a colonial stance of looting over Essequibo’

In an interview with Venezuela’s state-owned TV station Venezolana de Televisión, Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza discussed the Essequibo controversy and stated that the Cooperative Republic of Guyana defends a colonial stance of looting by trying to validate the 1899 Arbitral Treaty.

“They want to ignore what has happened in these 120 years. It is absurd to go back in time in this moment. We need to put our future perspective in place and sit down to achieve what the Geneva Agreement establishes, which is a practical, satisfactory, mutually acceptable settlement,” he said about the unilateral application filed in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by Guyana.

It is necessary to highlight that the 1899 Arbitral Treaty dates back to the time when Guyana was not even a republic, but a British colony.

In this regard, Arreaza ratified that the Venezuelan government does not consent to the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the territorial dispute, and it has handed over information to the Court on the historical, legal stance of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, even though it is not participating in the litigation.

On the other hand, the Venezuelan foreign minister denounced that the Guyanese government is allowing U.S. company Exxon Mobil to operate in the Essequibo’s adjacent waters after the discovery of new oil deposits.

“Exxon Mobil was also in conflict with Venezuela because they did not want to comply with the Venezuelan legal framework when President Hugo Chávez was in office, and now they are operating and trying to put pressure – I think – on bodies such as the International Court of Justice and the UN. Undoubtedly, Guyana is acting at the service of these companies,” stressed Arreaza.  

Arreaza explained that since 1700, the British empire has been aware of the wealth of this continent spanning along Guyana, French Guyana, Surinam, the Venezuelan Essequibo and part of the Bolívar State territory.

“That is the reason why they started to move the border to find this wealth in El Dorado, part of Venezuela’s territory, snatch our territory, reach the Orinoco, navigate it and take all the gold and minerals away,” he explained.

Arreaza also recalled that Vice-president Delcy Rodríguez announced 21 proposals to Guyana to resolve the Essequibo controversy, in strict adherence to the Geneva Agreement.

On a different subject, Minister Arreaza referred to the decision of expelling the European Union’s representative Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa from Venezuela.

The Venezuelan foreign minister said the measure is a legitimate reaction to defend the country’s sovereignty, in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and as a direct consequence of the European Union’s actions against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Arreaza stressed that this measure could be revised if illegal sanctions imposed on 11 Venezuelan officials are lifted.

“They want us to reverse the measure, but first they should lift their sanctions because they are illegal and arbitrary (…) I hope the European Union rectifies, learns to respect Venezuela’s sovereignty and addresses the many problems Europe has such as migration, the pandemic and its economy, because Venezuelans will respond to any political situation that may arise through dialogue,” said Foreign Minister Arreaza.

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