Brazil urges Venezuela to avoid fueling a territorial dispute with Guyana

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Saturday expressed to his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro his growing concern about the territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana, the Brazilian presidential palace said in a statement.

In a phone call from Maduro to Lula, the Brazilian president called for dialogue, noting that it was important to avoid unilateral measures that could lead to an escalation of the situation.

Tensions between Venezuela and Guyana have been rising in the past few weeks over a long-standing border dispute over Essequibo, an area of ​​Guyana where huge offshore oil and gas discoveries have been made.

Last weekend, voters in Venezuela rejected the International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction over the region and supported the creation of a new state.

Lula also suggested that the interim president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) – Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – address the issue.

Lula reiterated that Brazil is ready to support and follow up on dialogue initiatives, and to reinforce the joint declaration of South American countries issued earlier this week.

The US Embassy in Brasilia said the United States and Brazil are consulting on the border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana.

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She said in a statement that the two governments want a peaceful solution to the conflict. “We reaffirm the United States’ steadfast support for Guyana’s sovereignty.”

(Reporting by Luana Maria Benedetto – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Writing by Peter Frontini. Edited by Cynthia Osterman and Jonathan Oatis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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