Venezuela eyes end to Guyana border dispute
The legislators visited settlements on the border with Guyana on Saturday
sign a declaration supporting President Hugo Chavez's position that a 1899
treaty giving a mineral-rich region called Esequibo to Guyana was "null and
The declaration also urged both nations to work for a swift solution that
be "just, long-lasting and acceptable."
"We held a special session of the parliamentary Defense Committee, and
we signed the document," legislator Saul Ortega told Reuters on Sunday.
Over the past two years, Chavez's nationalist administration has revived
border controversy over Esequibo, a sparsely inhabited jungle region of some
63,600 square miles in eastern Guyana.
During his weekly radio talk show "Hello President" on Saturday, Chavez
pledged cooperation "with Guyana and with all the people which live in that
"This cannot remain in limbo for much longer; we have to solve this situation,"
said Chavez, after talking by telephone with National Assembly President
William Lara, who headed the delegation.
Lara, a staunch Chavez supporter, insisted that "we do not have a hostile
This is not an unfriendly gesture toward Guyana or anyone."
In recent weeks, Chavez also has strongly defended Venezuela's sovereignty
over a tiny island, the Isla de Aves, amid criticism from eastern Caribbean
The desert island, which is only inhabited part of the year, lies some
north of Venezuela's coast.
Copyright 2001 Reuters.