– Guyana Govt says British war ship deployed here no threat to Venezuela
– vessel will not be used for offensive actions
Kaieteur News – In response to statements made by Venezuela in relation to the British warship en route to Guyana, Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo underscored Guyana’s support for the December 14 Argyle ‘Peace’ Declaration, emphasising the country’s commitment to non-interference with Venezuela.
“We don’t have any plan to take offensive actions against Venezuela…” Jagdeo said during his press conference on Thursday. Jagdeo explained that the HMS Trent – an offshore patrol vessel, is part of Guyana building its defensive capability. “Whatever we do here is routine and it has been long planned…not necessarily to fight wars but to police better our exclusive economic zone and our territorial integrity and sovereignty. So we respect the Argyle declaration and President (Nicolas) Maduró needs to understand this,” the Vice President continued.
Bloomberg reported that Venezuela has decided to deploy more than 5,000 soldiers on its eastern Caribbean coast following the announcement that Guyana is receiving a warship from the United Kingdom. “Venezuela has the right to defend itself, to tranquility, to peace,” Maduro said Thursday on state TV, while accusing Guyana of violating an agreement signed two weeks ago to continue talks over the oil-rich territory without the use of arms. “We do not accept provocations, threats from anything or anyone.”
President Maduro said, “I have ordered the activation of a joint action of the entire Bolivarian National Military Armed Force on the eastern Caribbean of Venezuela, on the Atlantic Facade, a joint action of a defensive nature in response to the provocation and threat of the United Kingdom against the peace and sovereignty of our country.”
Responding to the statements coming out of Venezuela, Jagdeo said that, “Nothing that we do or will do have threatened Venezuela, we don’t plan on invading Venezuela, President Maduró knows this and he needs not to have any worry about that and he has had that assurance given to him in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Jagdeo underscored that Guyana has never done anything in the past or any of its future actions is to harm or affect Venezuela and the territory of Venezuela. President Irfaan Ali on Thursday evening echoed Jagdeo’s sentiment, expressing Guyana’s dedication to peaceful relations and denying any territorial ambitions beyond its borders.
Ali said, “Neither Venezuela nor any other State has anything to fear from activities within Guyana’s sovereign territory or waters. I have reiterated before that we harbor no ambitions or intentions to covet what does not belong to us. We are fully committed to peaceful relations with our neighbors and all countries in our Region. Guyana remains fully steadfast in promoting and advancing peace whilst pursuing national development.”
President Ali said too that Guyana has long been engaged in partnerships with regional and international states aimed at enhancing internal security.
“These partnerships pose a threat to no one and are in no way intended to be aggressive or constitute an offensive act against any State. I wish to renew my best wishes to the people of Venezuela, our neighbours,” Ali added.
The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that the HMS Trent would take part in joint exercises after Christmas in Guyana. HMS Trent had been deployed to the Caribbean to search for drug smugglers but was re-tasked after Venezuela’s government threatened to annex the Essequibo region of Guyana earlier this month – BBC reported.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson told the BBC: “HMS Trent will visit regional ally and Commonwealth partner Guyana later this month as part of a series of engagements in the region during her Atlantic Patrol Task deployment.”
In a statement on Thursday, the Venezuelan Government condemned the arrival of HMS Trent in Guyana waters, terming it a hostile provocation and a breach of the Argyle Declaration, urging Guyana to withdraw the vessel.
St. Vincent Times reported that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said during a radio program, “I was in touch with the president of Guyana and the president of Venezuela, with assurances given from either side of commitment to peace and continued dialogue.”
He explained that he read Venezuela’s statement regarding the UK warship, adding, “They consider this an act of provocation…”
Gonsalves expressed optimism that there will be less activities that could be viewed as provocation. “What I’m hoping for is that there will be fewer acts, which may be open to the interpretation of provocation or threat, but I’m not expressing a view because I’ve been asked to continue the role of interlocutor.” The prime minister said what transpired at Argyle on December 14 was historic, and he hopes it will continue in that spirit.