AN IMPENDING visit to Guyana by Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, is expected to help put to rest a controversial claim of two-thirds of this country by its western neighbour.
“We are very anxious to reach a stage where we can put that controversy behind our back. And I would want to believe that the visit of the President, when it does take place, will contribute greatly to achieving that,” Foreign Minister, Dr Rudy Insanally said Thursday.
He told reporters at his Takuba Lodge, Georgetown base, that President Chavez has been formally invited to Guyana by President Bharrat Jagdeo, and may be coming soon. The exact date will be confirmed through diplomatic communication and Insanally said there has been some indication that “sooner rather than later” a visit might take place.
Guyana and Venezuela late last year resumed a ‘Good Officer’ process under the aegis of the United Nations to resolve the nearly two-century-old border dispute. Secretary General, Kofi Annan met with Insanally and Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Roy Chaderton-Matos at UN Headquarters in New York in September.
Insanally, Thursday said the sides have kept the process going despite major political problems in Venezuela. “It has been going well, we have extremely cordial relations with Venezuela (and the process will be) accelerated,” he noted.
While it would be left to the leaders of the countries to decide what is on the agenda when President Chavez visits, the border controversy would be most likely be the underlying, fundamental issue.
“(They will look at) what could be done bilaterally to perhaps eliminate that problem in the interest of the larger hemispheric good,” Insanally said.
The leaders would most likely discuss matters of hemispheric cooperation in which they both have very strong interest. Infrastructure is a key matter in light of Venezuela’s proposal for a road link with Guyana, as well as energy.