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President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali.

Venezuela last night released the Guyanese fishermen from two Guyanese vessels which had been detained by Venezuela last month that led to fresh tensions between Venezuela and the international community, Government confirmed.

The information was confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne following the release of the fishermen just before 7 pm last night.

Browne said, “This development has come as a result of intense diplomatic work by the Caricom chairman (T&T’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley), the President of Guyana Irfaan Ali and the respective foreign ministers of both Guyana and Venezuela.”

The two Guyanese fishing vessels—Lady Nayera and Sea Wolf —were intercepted last month by a Venezuelan naval vessel.

The captains of the two vessels were instructed to sail to Port Guiria where they were detained.

Guyana claimed the boats were operating off the coast of Waini Point within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone—something Venezuela denied.

Guyana condemned the detention of the captains and crews of the fishing vessels and called for their immediate release.

Venezuela said the incident occurred in their waters and accused Guyana of “conspiring” with ExxonMobil and other international oil companies to control Venezuelan territory.

T&T had stepped in on Caricom’s behalf last month when Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Browne held discussions with Venezuelan Ambassador to T&T, Carlos Pérez Silva, on the incident.

Browne expressed deep concern and urged an immediate, peaceful resolution. Silva gave an undertaking that Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister would meet virtually with Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister as soon as possible in an attempt to swiftly resolve the issue.

The seizure of the vessels had been seen as the latest display of heightening border tensions between Venezuela and Guyana. Guyana recently deployed troops to safeguard against possible Venezuelan infringement of its borders which Venezuela has been seeking to claim. T&T has backed Guyana in the issue.

That matter will be dealt with by the International Court of Justice.