Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova
Guyana calls on Russia to retract claim of British-built E’quibo military base
August 17 2019
Both Guyana and Britain have dismissed as untrue a claim by Russia that a British military base is being constructed within the Essequibo River to train Venezuelan refugees to destabilise the Nicolas Maduro-led government.
In a public statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded that Russia withdraw the statement made by Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova, who is the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
During a weekly press briefing that was broadcast live by Russia Today, Zakharova stated that “the British continue constructing a military base at the estuary of the Essequibo River.”
“They say it’s to fight the smuggling of drugs and arms,” she said, while adding that “several dozen of the so-called refugees from Venezuela have already arrived there. In fact those are the people who have arrived to complete training for the recon and diversion groups in order to work in Venezuela and destabilise the situation and commit relevant actions from extremist to terrorist.”
According to Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, the statement is “baseless” and “utterly false.”
“It is especially unfortunate given that relations between Guyana and Russia have always been based on mutual respect, trust and friendship,” it said.
British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn has also been quoted by local media as dismissing Russia’s claims.
“The claims by the Russian Foreign Ministry are clear disinformation. The UK does not possess, is not building nor operates from any base in Guyana,” online news agency Demerara Waves reported Quinn as saying.
Guyana’s government has reaffirmed its unequivocal commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, while stating that this country has always been resolute in its advocacy for several principles of international law, including, in particular, the sovereign equality of states.
“Guyana therefore 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,” the statement reads
In relation to the controversy arising from Venezuela’s contention that the 1899 Arbitral Award establishing the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela is “null and void”, Guyana remains fully committed to the January 30th, 2018 decision of the United Nations Secretary-General, pursuant to his authority under the 1966 Geneva Agreement, to choose the International Court of Justice as the means for the peaceful settlement of the controversy, the statement added.