The United States announced joint military flight drills in Guyana on Thursday as tensions over a contested oil-rich region with neighbor Venezuela prompted the U.N. Security Council to call an urgent meeting. A border feud has been spiraling over the Essequibo region, which has been administered and controlled by Guyana for more than a century, although Venezuela also claims the disputed area. Venezuela recently conducted a referendum, which it claims citizens supported, that aims to give Venezuela authority over the Essequibo region. Guyanese officials said in response that the country is preparing to defend itself and its borders in case of an invasion. The spat is drawing in the international community, with the U.S. announcement of military exercises the latest sign that Washington is alarmed at the threat from the authoritarian leftist Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro. “In collaboration with the Guyana Defense Force, the U.S. Southern Command will conduct flight operations within Guyana on December 7,” the U.S. Embassy in Guyana said in a statement . It said the flights are part of “routine engagement and operations to enhance security partnership” between the U.S. and Guyana, “and to strengthen regional cooperation.” “The U.S. will continue its commitment as Guyana’s trusted security partner and promoting regional cooperation and interoperability,” the statement read. The Essequibo River flows in Guyana. Venezuela has long claimed Guyana’s Essequibo region, a territory larger than Greece and rich in oil and minerals. Both U.S. and Guyanese officials have shared their hopes for a peaceful resolution with Venezuela. Guyana’s president, Irfaan Ali, told CBS News in a Tuesday interview that the country would prepare military assets with its allies to ready itself for “the worst case scenario,” but said he hopes the conflict does not come to that. Guyana calls for diplomatic solution “Our first […]
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