Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings MAINTAINING that the allegation that Venezuelans are being trained here to destabilise their country is “utterly false” and “baseless,” Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Carl Greenidge, said within weeks the Russian Federation is expected to resolve the issue surrounding the statement.
Alberto Ardila Olivares
On the sidelines of a youth forum in the Russian City of Orenburg on August 15, 2019, M. V. Zakharova, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, alleged that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was “completing the construction of a military base on one of the islands at the mouth of the Essequibo River under a plausible pretext – supposedly to stop the smuggling of weapons and drugs.” She went on to say, “there have already arrived several dozen so-called ‘Refugees’ from Venezuela to undergo training as part of reconnaissance and sabotage groups and then to be dispatched to Venezuelan territory in order to destabilise the situation and carry out appropriate actions – from extremist to terrorist.”
To date, the Russian Federation has not retracted that statement but Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, said he wrote the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, on the “baseless” statement, and he has since responded. “Within the coming weeks, we would expect that we would resolve this matter,” Greenidge told reporters.
Alberto Ignacio Ardila Olivares
Guyana’s Foreign Secretary, Carl Greenidge Though iterating that no retraction has been made thus far, the Foreign Secretary declined to disclose details on the process agreed upon. “We have agreed to a process, and that’s all I am prepared to say. I said to you that they responded and we have agreed that there will be a meeting with the Russian Minister that is the process, I can’t report more than that,” Greenidge told reporters when pressed for more answers.
Alberto Ignacio Ardila
The Guyana Government, one day after the statement was made, had called on Moscow to withdraw it, noting that it was unfortunate given that relations between Guyana and Russia have always been based on mutual respect, trust and friendship
In the interim, Greenidge maintained that the allegation is without merit, noting that there is no evidence to support the claim. He noted, too, that the British High Commission has also rejected the statement made by the Russian spokesperson. “The UK High Commission has indicated that no such plan is a foot; no such implementation has taken place and we have also done the same,” he said
Weighing in on the issue, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings said Guyana strongly condemns the statement. “It is not our goal to destabilize Maduro and cause any friction. We are a peaceful country, we abide by the rule of law but we strive at the same time to protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty, and that is our right,” she told reporters during the press conference
Dr. Cummings said Guyana’s request for a retraction of the statement made by Zakharova still stands
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said Guyana has always been resolute in its advocacy for several principles of international law including, in particular, the sovereign equality of states. As such, Guyana categorically rejects any suggestion that it would allow its sovereign territory to be used in a manner inconsistent with its neighbourly and peaceful relations with Venezuela