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Venezuela's Maduro Gives Ultimatum to Foreign Oil Companies Amid Dispute with Guyana

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Nimrah Khatoon
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Venezuela's Maduro Gives Ultimatum to Foreign Oil Companies Amid Dispute with Guyana

In escalating tensions between Venezuela and Guyana, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has declared a three-month ultimatum to foreign oil companies. The companies have been directed to cease operations in the disputed waters of El Esequibo, a resource-rich region that has been a bone of contention for many years. Maduro made this announcement during an official broadcast, heightening the territorial dispute between the two nations.

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Proposed Law to Cease Unilateral Oil Concessions

Maduro's announcement included a call for discussions about a new law that would prohibit the hiring of any companies operating or assisting in the unilateral oil concessions granted by Guyana in the disputed maritime area. The proposed law, Maduro emphasized, should be robust and structured through a special legislative process. This move marks a significant escalation in the ongoing territorial dispute.

Guyana Seeks International Intervention

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In response to Maduro's ultimatum, Guyana announced its intention to approach the UN Security Council should Venezuela take any action following the referendum. Guyana had previously sought the intervention of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in an attempt to halt the referendum. Guyanese President Irfaan Ali deemed Maduro's statements as a direct threat against his country and vehemently rejected the measures announced by the Venezuelan leader.

Open Communication Amid Escalating Tensions

Despite the escalating feud, both nations have agreed to keep communication channels open. The long-standing dispute over the El Esequibo region has intensified since ExxonMobil discovered oil there in 2015. Maduro's proposal to create a 'GuyanaEsequiba' province in the region, and his call for immediate issuance of oil, gas, and mining licenses, has stirred the pot further. However, he also expressed an openness to dialogue, indicating a willingness to discuss the matter further.

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