Guyana Dismiss Russian Claim Of Military Base Being Built By UK

The Guyana government Friday dismissed a statement by Russia that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country was completing the construction of a military base with the assistance of the United Kingdom that could be used to launch an attack on the Venezuelan government.

“The Government of Guyana calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw this baseless statement, which is utterly false. It is especially unfortunate given that relations between Guyana and Russia have always been based on mutual respect, trust and friendship,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

It said that on Thursday, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, M. V. Zakharova, on the sidelines of the International Youth Forum Eurasia Global in the Russian city of Orenburg, claimed that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was “completing the construction of a military base on one of the islands at the mouth of the Essequibo River under a plausible pretext – supposedly to stop the smuggling of weapons and drugs”.

The statement further quoted the spokesman as saying that “there have already arrived several dozen so-called ‘Refugees’ from Venezuela to undergo training as part of reconnaissance and sabotage groups and then to be dispatched to Venezuelan territory in order to destabilize the situation and carry out appropriate actions – from extremist to terrorist.”

But in its statement, Georgetown said it wanted to reaffirm “its unequivocal commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

“Guyana has always been resolute in its advocacy for several principles of international law including, in particular, the sovereign equality of states. Guyana therefore categorically rejects any suggestion that it would allow its sovereign territory to be used in a manner inconsistent with its neighbourly and peaceful relations with Venezuela.”

Guyana and Venezuela have a long standing border dispute and earlier this year, the CARICOM country said that it had asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to proceed with at the earliest possible date, a hearing to determine whether or not it has the jurisdiction to hear the border dispute.

Caracas has long stated that the Hague-based court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN) and established in June 1945, does not have jurisdiction to hear the border case filed by Guyana.

Guyana submitted the case to the Court after the UN Secretary General António Guterres determined, that the dispute over the validity of the Arbitral Award, and the resulting boundary, must be decided by the Court. That constitutes a sufficient jurisdictional basis for the Court to proceed.

UN representative Dag Halvor Nylander from Norway had been appointed by the UN to help broker a settlement by the end of 2017, however it was concluded that significant progress had not been made towards arriving at a full agreement for the resolution of the dispute. The century long border dispute escalated in May 2015 when oil was found in disputed waters off the coast of Venezuela.

In its statement on Friday, Guyana said that in respect of the controversy arising from Venezuela’s contention that the 1899 Arbitral Award establishing the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela is “null and void”, “Guyana remains fully committed to the January 30, 2018 decision of the United Nations Secretary-General, pursuant to his authority under the 1966 Geneva Agreement, to choose the International Court of Justice as the means for the peaceful settlement of the controversy”,.

Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn has also dismissed Russia’s claims of a base being built here.

“The claims by the Russian Foreign Ministry are clear disinformation. The UK does not possess, is not building nor operates from any base in Guyana,” he told the on-line publication, Demerara Waves.

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