Rohee briefs Jackman on the latest in border controversy

Stabroek News
August 8, 2000

Foreign Minister Clement Rohee yesterday briefed United Nations Good Officer, Oliver Jackman, on the latest developments in the border controversy stemming from Venezuela's claim to the Essequibo region.

The briefing was held at the Foreign Service Institute and Rohee headed a nine-man delegation which included Ambassadors Rudy Collins, Donald Abrams, Elizabeth Harper and Robert McKenzie from the Foreign Ministry; Colonel Edward Collins of the Guyana Defence Force; Deputy Commissioner of Police, Floyd McDonald; and Newell Dennison, Head of the Petroleum Unit of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.

Jackman, a Barbadian, arrived here yesterday from Caracas where he was also briefed by the Venezuelan administration on the developments from its perspective.

Jackman's visits to Caracas and Georgetown were at the request of the two governments with the invitation from Venezuela preceding that from Guyana by twenty-four hours.

Jackman has declined to disclose what were the concerns raised with him in Caracas before he had spoken to Rohee. However, reports in the Venezuelan daily El Nacional said that Caracas intended to raise with him the deal struck between Guyana and Beal Areospace Technologies and proposals for taking the UN Good Officer process to a new level by discussing a number of agreed issues related to the border controversy.

Jackman was invited to Guyana as a result of Venezuela's intensification of its campaign to discourage investment in the Essequibo region following the concession granted to Beal for its satellite launch project.

In addition to lobbying the US administration against agreeing to the transfer of technology to be used in the project, Venezuelan government officials have also announced that Caracas planned issuing petroleum exploration licences in Guyana's exclusive economic zone offshore the Essequibo and establishing a naval presence in support of the activity.

Sources tell Stabroek News that Venezuelan sabre rattling may have dissuaded Century Oil from proceeding with its plan to explore for oil off Guyana's Coast.

Jackman is scheduled to host a press conference today at 6 pm.

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