Venezuela calls U.S. comments on Guyana dispute ‘interventionist’ By Reuters

© Reuters. A Venezuelan flag is seen in downtown Caracas

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s overseas ministry on Tuesday described as “interventionist and disrespectful” U.S. comments on a weekend incident by which the nation’s navy stopped two ships exploring for oil for Exxon Mobil (N:) off Guyana’s coast.

Each of the neighboring South American international locations says the incident on Saturday occurred inside its territorial waters. In response to the occasion, the U.S. State Department mentioned Venezuela had behaved “aggressively” and referred to as on the nation to “respect international law and the rights of its neighbors.”

“It is evident that the U.S. government is interfering in a matter that is not at all incumbent upon it, with the goal of promoting corporate interests closely linked to the Washington ruling elite,” the overseas ministry mentioned in a press release.

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro has accused the United States of plotting to invade Venezuela and overthrow his authorities, whereas Washington has positioned sanctions on Venezuela’s debt and members of Maduro’s authorities over accusations of corruption, human rights violations and election-rigging.

A century-long territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana has flared up lately with Exxon’s discovery of greater than 5 billion barrels of oil and gasoline off Guyana’s coast. In OPEC-member Venezuela, crude output is hovering close to 70-year lows amid a extreme financial disaster.

Guyana says Caracas gave up its declare to the Essequibo, a sparsely populated jungle space making up two-thirds of Guyana’s territory, after an 1899 ruling by a world tribunal, however Venezuela later backtracked on that call. The U.N. this 12 months referred the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Two vessels owned by Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services (OL:) and underneath contract by Exxon Mobil have been conducting seismic survey work within the space. The ships stopped their work and turned east after the Venezuelan navy advised them Guyana didn’t have jurisdiction there.

When requested on Monday if there have been plans for the vessels to renew their actions, Guyana Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge mentioned the federal government was “in discussion” with Exxon. Neither Exxon nor PGS instantly responded to requests for remark on Tuesday, and the U.S. State Department declined to remark.

On Monday, the Caricom group of 15 Caribbean nations together with Guyana – a lot of which have traditionally obtained sponsored oil from Venezuela underneath Caracas’ Petrocaribe program – mentioned it seen the “interception” by Venezuela’s navy “with grave concern.”

“Such acts violate the sovereign rights of Guyana under international law,” the group mentioned in a press release.

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