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Essequibo Referendum: Venezuela orders oil licensing in Guyana region

Three days after a referendum on the integration of the Guyana territory of Essequibo into Venezuela, tensions between the two countries’ leaders rose on Tuesday, December 5. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the granting of oil licenses in Essequibo, according to the announcement. “imminent threat” According to his Guyanese counterpart, Irfaan Ali.

On Sunday, Venezuela held a referendum on Essequibo. According to official figures, disputed by many observers, some 10.4 million Venezuelan voters participated and 95% said they supported the integration of the zone in their country. Surf on it “victory”On Tuesday, Mr Maduro ordered state oil and petroleum group PDVSA to issue licenses for oil and gas exploitation in the Essequibo region.

He also proposed that the country enact a special law prohibiting the signing of contracts with companies operating in the sector with concessions granted by Guyana. Mr. Maduro noted that these companies were given three months to leave the zone “will be restricted”He was saying to himself “For open discussion”.

“Venezuela has declared itself an outlaw nation”

He also demanded that a law be promulgated to create the province of Guiana Essequiba, to conduct a census there and issue identity cards to the population. The president of Venezuela still called “A fair diplomatic agreement, satisfactory and friendly to the parties” And he confirmed that his country was going “restoration” Essequibo, where large deposits of crude oil were discovered in 2015.

Guyana’s President did not wait long to respond, delivering a special address to the nation late Tuesday evening. “This is a direct threat to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Guyana. (…) Guyana sees this as an imminent threat.”he said. “This evening I spoke to the UN Secretary General and several leaders to warn of this dangerous development and the desperate actions of President Maduro, which threaten international law and pose a significant risk to international peace and security.he added.

We call on President Maduro to correct his mistakes and act and behave in accordance with international law.he said, specifying that Guyanese troops were present “full warning”. “Venezuela has rejected international law, the rule of law and justice (…) as well as maintaining international peace and security and literally declared itself an outlaw nation.he argued.

Largest oil reserves per capita

Caracas has claimed 160,000 km of Essequibo (sometimes called Guiana Essequiba) territory for decades.2 It makes up more than two-thirds of Guyana and is home to 125,000 people, or one-fifth of its population. Venezuela claims that the Essequibo River should be a natural border, as it was in 1777 during the Spanish Empire. Guyana, on the other hand, believes that the border dates back to the English colonial era and was ratified in 1899.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest judicial body of the United Nations (UN), whose jurisdiction Venezuela does not recognize in the case, ordered the Venezuelan government on Friday. “Abstain from any action that would change the situation” in Essequibo and in both parts “Refrain from any action that may aggravate or prolong the dispute”.

Venezuela’s claim heated up after ExxonMobil discovered oil in Essequibo in 2015. A new and significant discovery of black gold was made in the region last month, adding Guyana’s reserves to at least ten billion barrels more than Kuwait’s reserves. Guyana has the largest oil reserves per capita in the world. Venezuela, on the other hand, has the largest proven reserves on the planet.

Author: The world with AFP

Source: Le Monde

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