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Venezuela denies incursion into Guyanese territory warning of deliberate misinformation

VENEZUELA has hit out after Guyana summoned its ambassador to deliver a protest note claiming that two Venezuelan fighter jets violated its territory earlier this week.

“Once again, Guyana’s government intends to generate false versions about the regular patrolling operations carried out by the Bolivarian National Armed Forces strictly circumscribed to non-controversial Venezuelan territory,” the foreign ministry said.

It accused Guyana of waging a disinformation campaign by fabricating “an alleged act of aggression” over the disputed Essequibo region.

The border was established in 1899. 

The UN Geneva Agreement signed in 1966 states that neither of the two parties can refer to the disputed territory as its own, while also calling for a mutually satisfactory resolution of the controversy. 

But recent interest has been triggered by the discovery of oil in the region, with Exxon Mobil announcing last year that it was ramping up crude oil production in the contested waters.

US ships have launched joint patrols with the Guyana Defence Force after signing a ship rider agreement with then US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in September 2020.

The oil-rich Stabroek Block is claimed by Caracas. Guyana has no history of oil production, but it could become one of Latin America’s biggest producers if a decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the border goes in its favour.

In 2019 the British Ministry of Defence denied to the Morning Star allegations that it was building a military base in its former colony.

The accusations were made by the Russian Foreign Ministry which claimed to have uncovered secret British plans to arm Venezuelan refugees across the border, with dozens arriving for training on an island in the mouth of the Essequibo River.

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