Venezuela, Guyana agree to high-level meeting amid annexation fears

Venezuela and Guyana have agreed to a high-level meeting over the status of the disputed and oil-rich Essequibo region, following a flurry of diplomacy involving leaders of both countries as well as Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, St. Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, and United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.

Following a nationwide referendum last week, the Venezuelan government has threatened to move forward with plans to annex the densely-forested Essequibo region, which is roughly the size of Floria and makes up about two-thirds of Guyana’s territory.

Venezuela has long insisted that it has a historical claim to the region, which Guyana rejects. Current borders were set in a 1899 ruling by international arbitrators.

The proposed meeting would take place on December 14 in St. Vincent and Grenadines, according to a letter shared with CNN en Español that was sent to both presidents by Gonsalves. The letter describes an “urgent need to de-escalate the conflict and institute an appropriate dialogue, face-to-face.”

St. Vincent and the Grenadines also said that Brazil’s Lula would be invited to attend the meeting. Brazil shares extensive borders with both countries.




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