Meeting set between Guyana, Venezuela Ministers to discuss arrest of US Ship

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Guyana's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues - Birkett.
Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues – Birkett.

[www.inewsguyana.com]Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues – Birkett is slated to meet with Venezuela’s Minister of External Relations, Elías Jaua to discuss the matter of the arrest of the RV Teknik Perdana by a Venezuelan naval vessel on October 10, 2013.

The ship belongs to Texas-based company Anadarko, which has been granted a contract to look for oil in Guyana’s waters.

According to a press statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Guyana, upon the arrest of the ship, contact was made with Venezuela.

“The Ministers agreed that dialogue was essential in an effort to find a peaceful solution to this matter as well as in preserving the relations which had developed between the two countries in recent years.  In this regard, they agreed to meet in the coming week,” the Ministry stated.

The vessel – the Teknik Perdana – was surveying the seafloor on Thursday when it was approached by a Venezuelan navy vessel and forced to sail to Venezuela’s Margarita Island. At least five US citizens are on board.

Guyana has since maintained that the vessel was taken control of by the Venezuelan navy while in Guyana’s waters.

However, the Venezuelan government is of the view that the vessel was in their territory illegally. Guyana has since warned the Venezuelan authorities that their actions in the disputed Essequibo region constituted “a serious threat to peace in the region”.

“One point is clear: the Teknik Perdana was in Guyana’s waters when this incident took place,” said the Guyanan foreign ministry in a statement.

The vast area west of the Essequibo River makes up two-thirds of the territory of Guyana. It has been claimed by Venezuela as its own since the 19th century, when Guyana was still a British colony.

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