Venezuela’s President Nicholas Maduro on Monday called for an in-person meeting with Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali on Guyana’s Essequibo, which Venezuela claims belongs to it.

This latest call comes following heavy criticism from the international community and Saturday’s summoning of Venezuela’s Ambassador to Guyana.

According to the Agence French-Presse, Maduro speaking on his weekly radio program said there is only one solution here and that is to resume dialogue, face to face, directly.

Directed to President Irfaan Ali, Maduro was quoted as saying, “I am ready to meet with you quickly, at the location of our choice in the Caribbean, to resume peace negotiations and put an end to these threats.”

Recently, President Ali rebuffed statements coming from the Maduro Administration which said the Guyana government does not have sovereign rights over the maritime areas and consequently any action within their limits is in violation of International Law, as long as they are not carried out through an agreement with Venezuela.
The Venezuelan government went on to say that any illicit and arbitrary concession that Guyana grants, has granted or intends to grant in the area in question is unacceptable and violates its sovereign rights.

On Saturday, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Guyana Carlos Silva was summoned to a meeting with the Attorney General – Anil Nandalall, who is performing the functions of Foreign Affairs Minister as Minister Todd is on travel duties.

During the meeting, Ambassador Silva was given a protest note over his country’s latest claim to Guyana’s Essequibo region.

Further, in a statement on Saturday, the Government through the Foreign Affairs Ministry said it noted with deep concern the decision of the Venezuelan National Assembly to conduct a referendum on defending Venezuela’s spurious claims to Guyana Essequibo. ‘

The statement said that Guyana is of the view that this has the potential to foment tension between the two states. Guyana considers that the only appropriate forum for Venezuela to raise its territorial claim, consistent with the rule of international law and the preservation of peace and security, is the International Court of Justice in The Hague which has already determined, twice, that it has jurisdiction to resolve the competing claims of Venezuela and Guyana to the territory in question. Resolution by the Court assures both Parties of a final, binding, and permanent settlement that is equitable, just and consistent with international law.