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Venezuela agrees to restore high-level diplomatic representation; UN fact-finding mission for Caracas

by Denis Chabrol,

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President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (L), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (C) and President of Guyana David Arthur Granger shake hands Before Their tri-level meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and on the eve of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in New York, New York, USA, 27 September 2015 (USA) EFE / EPA / JASON SZENES

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In talks brokered by United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon Venezuela Sunday night agreed to accredit Cheryl Miles as Guyana’s Ambassador to Caracas and return its Ambassador to Georgetown, while the UN continues to explore ways of permanently resolving the border controversy.

Participating in the talks on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York were Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and the President of Guyana, David Granger- their first meeting since the Guyanese leader won general elections in May.

After shaking hands at the request of the UN Chief, the trio met for about one hour during which Guyana pressed its case for the border controversy to be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a lasting settlement.

However,  the UN Secretary General did not make any decision in that regard during the talks. Instead, he preferred to first receive an assessment from a UN team that is expected to visit Venezuela on a fact-finding mission. A similar team has already conducted a visit to Guyana.

In the interim, Ambassador Cheryl Miles will soon be accredited and Venezuela will send back its Ambassadorr  Reina Margarita Arratia Diaz to Georgetown.

JSX19. New York (United States), 27/09/2015.- President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (L), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (C) and President of Guyana David Arthur Granger (R) talk during their tri-level meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and on the eve of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in New York, New York, USA, 27 September 2015. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/JASON SZENES

JSX19. New York (United States), 27/09/2015.- President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (L), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (C) and President of Guyana David Arthur Granger (R) talk during their tri-level meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and on the eve of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in New York, New York, USA, 27 September 2015. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/JASON SZENES

Venezuela maintains that the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award which settled the land boundary between the neighbouring countries is null and void while Guyana insists that the award is a final and perfect settlement.

Tensions between Guyana and Venezuela have soared in recent months ever since American oil company, Exxon-Mobil, discovered a huge deposit offshore Essequibo, a mineral and forest ich region that Venezuela claims as hers.

Caracas has since issued a decree, including the waters offshore Essequibo as part of its military defence zone, refused to approve Cheryl Miles as Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela, recalled its Ambassador from Georgetown and deployed men, missiles and gunboats near the border.

JSX21. New York (United States), 27/09/2015.- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) leads President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (C) and President of Guyana David Arthur Granger (L) into their tri-level meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and on the eve of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in New York, New York, USA, 27 September 2015. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/JASON SZENES

JSX21. New York (United States), 27/09/2015.- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) leads President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro (C) and President of Guyana David Arthur Granger (L) into their tri-level meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit and on the eve of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in New York, New York, USA, 27 September 2015. (Estados Unidos) EFE/EPA/JASON SZENES

Venezuela’s President, Nicolas Maduro more than two months ago recalled his Ambassador Arratia Diaz will return to Georgetown.

Earlier this month, their relations dipped further when Maduro ordered a temporary halt to the processing of approval for  Miles to be accredited Guyana’s Ambassador to Caracas and subsequently deployed troops, missiles, tanks and gunboats near the border with Guyana.

Venezuela has since scaled back its military presence there, ahead of the talks between Granger, Maduro and the UN Chief.

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