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Venezuela seeks UN help in border dispute with Guyana

Published:Tuesday | July 28, 2015 | 2:35 PM
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks to reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Venezuelan President Nicol·s Maduro met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in New York Tuesday to ask for support in finding a solution to a territorial dispute with neighbouring Guyana.

Maduro told reporters that he had discussed ways Ban might help resolve a border dispute with the much smaller Guyana over an area where a new oil discovery has been made. He called the meeting fruitful, and said Ban is willing to send a UN commission to the two South American countries to mediate, possibly in September.

Venezuela long has claimed most of Guyana, including an offshore area where the Exxon Mobil Corp recently announced it made a significant oil discovery.

The Maduro administration issued a decree soon after

that announcement, extending Venezuela's territorial claims farther out into the Atlantic to encompass the area where the discovery was made.

judicial settlement

Guyana President David Granger responded that his country would seek to resolve the border issue with an international judicial settlement.

Both presidents have affirmed that the conflict will be settled without violence.

The dispute stems from an 1899 court ruling that required Venezuela to relinquish an undeveloped but resource-rich jungle territory called the Essequibo that constitutes about two-thirds of Guyanese territory.

Venezuela contends the ruling was invalid, and many official maps still describe the Essequibo as Venezuelan territory. Guyana says Venezuela pledged to abide by the ruling, but later reneged.

- AP