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President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ Da Silva. (Photo via CMC)

Brazilian president not attending SVG talks

December 12, 2023

BRASILIA, Brazil, CMC – President Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ Da Silva will not attend Thursday’s meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines between President Irfaan Ali of Guyana and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, on the contentious border dispute between the two countries, according to Brazilian media reports.

Da Silva, who had been invited to attend the talks brokered by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Caribbean Community CARICOM, will be represented by his foreign relations advisor, Celso Amorim.

The Brazilian media reported that Amorim had travelled to Caracas earlier this month and has been the main coordinator in the resumption of diplomatic relations between Brazil and Venezuela since Da Silva won a third term in October last year.

One media outlet reported that Amorim, in Lula’s absence, would be responsible for transmitting different messages to the two countries involved in the territorial dispute and that he would indicate that Brazil will not support unilateral measures that lead to an escalation of the situation, adopting a firm stance against the conflict.

Following the December 3 referendum in which the Venezuelan government said at least 95 per cent of voters in his South American country voted in support of Caracas annexing the Essequibo in Guyana,  President Maduro announced that the Essequibo would be Venezuela’s new military zone.

He also urged foreign investors who have concessions granted by Guyana have three months to leave, and that a census would be conducted to grant residents of Essequibo, citizenship and Venezuelan identification cards.

On Monday, former Commonwealth secretary general, Sir Shridath Ramphal, said “false expectations should not be encouraged” in the talks  between the two leaders.

In a statement, Sir Shridath, the co-Agent of Guyana before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said that it is important that the limits of the talks in Kingstown are understood

He said for decades, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been “the most vocal and consistent supporter of Guyana with regard to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy. “Never was that support more evident than when its Heads of Government held an emergency meeting in that context on 8 December 2023. They did not falter. CARICOM Heads repeated where they stood on the most critical aspects of the current situation,” he said.

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