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  • Facilities of the Guyana subsidiary of the ExxonMobil company, 2020.

    Facilities of the Guyana subsidiary of the ExxonMobil company, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @Brain_Bank

Published 8 January 2021
Opinion

The Guyana-U.S. agreement came when Exxon Mobil increased crude production in the Stabroek Block, which is largely in waters claimed by Venezuela.

The Guyana Defense Force (GDF) announced that it will participate with the U.S. Coast Guard in a joint maritime patrol operation on Saturday.

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Venezuela Reaffirms Its Sovereign Rights Over the Essequibo

"This exercise will take place off the coast of Guyana and will focus mainly on illegal and unregulated fishing," GDF said, adding that the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Cutter Stone has already arrived in the region.

These patrol exercises result from the "Shiprider Agreement" whose ratification was announced by U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo during his trip to the South American country in Sep. 2020.

Besides allowing joint maritime and airspace patrols to intercept illegal activities, this agreement provides mechanisms to streamline communications between law enforcement officials in both countries.

Last year's announcement of the joint maritime patrols aroused interest in Guyana to develop oil projects near the Essequibo, which is a natural resource-rich area in dispute with Venezuela for over a century.

The agreement between the two countries came when U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil increased crude production in the Stabroek Block, which is largely in waters claimed by Venezuela.

On Dec. 18, 2020, the International Court of Justice declared itself competent to judge the validity of the arbitration award of 1899 that established the border between the two South American nations.

This decision has been emphatically rejected by Venezuela, whose President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday asked the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to revive the dialogue between his country and Guyana.

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