Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 23rd 2015 Contents A21
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President David Granger said
yesterday that Venezuela has
deployed troops to a con-
tested border region in what
he called a "dangerous" es-
calation of a long-running
dispute between the South
American nations. The gov-
ernment of President Nico-
las Maduro made "extraordi-
nary military deployments,"
along what Guyana consid-
ers its western border,
Granger told reporters.
He called the development
a "hostile and aggressive"
step in a border dispute that
dates to the 19th century but
has grown more heated over
the past year following a
major off-shore oil discovery
in waters claimed by both
nations. "We feel that
Venezuela is treading a dan-
gerous course at this point in
time rather than seeking a
peaceful resolution of the
matter," Granger said.
"Venezuela seems to be pur-
suing a very offensive and
The Maduro government
had no immediate comment
but Venezuela has long
claimed a jungle area known
as the Essequibo that com-
prises about 40 per cent of
Guyana s territory. (AP)
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and his
Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, have
agreed to "a progressive normalisation" of their
Venezuela closed parts of the border a month ago
and launched a major anti-smuggling operation.
Maduro says up to 40 per cent of Venezuelan
goods are smuggled out of the country.
Meeting in Ecuador, the two presidents also said
they would return ambassadors to each other's
"Common sense, dialogue and peace between our
peoples and our countries have triumphed today,"
said Maduro after the talks in Quito aimed at
defusing the crisis.
The 1,400 miles-long border between the two
countries is porous and there has historically been a
steady flow of people both ways.
The Colombian leader said yesterday: "I agree
that criminal organisations working in the border
area are a big problem, but the best way to deal
with it is by working together."
Monday's talks were facilitated by Uruguayan
President Tabare Vasquez and his Ecuadorean
counterpart, Rafael Correa.
Pope Francis has called on Cubans to live a
"revolution of tenderness," in the final Mass of his
four-day visit to the island.
He was celebrating Mass at Cuba's holiest shrine,
the sanctuary of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre.
Later yesterday he left for the United States,
where he will address both houses of Congress.
In Washington DC he will hold the first-ever
canonisation mass on US soil and then give the first
address to Congress by a pope.
He will then head to New York City for the 70th
anniversary of the United Nations General
Assembly. The final leg of Pope Francis' US tour is
Philadelphia where the pontiff will preside over the
Vatican's World Meeting of Families.
It is being billed as one of the largest events in
the city in modern times and could attract up to a
million and half people.
During his time in Cuba, Pope Francis asked
Cubans to follow the example set by the Virgin of
Charity of El Cobre "to build bridges, to break down
walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation."
The European Union approved a
plan yesterday to share out 120,000
refugees across its 28 states, over-
riding vehement opposition from
four ex-communist eastern nations.
Diplomats said interior ministers
meeting in Brussels had voted to
launch the scheme, backed by Ger-
many and other big powers, in order
to tackle the continent s worst
refugee crisis since World War Two.
The Czech minister tweeted that
he had voted against, along with
colleagues from Slovakia, Romania
and Hungary, with Finland abstain-
Prague had earlier warned that
any attempt to impose such a
scheme would be unworkable and
could end in "big ridicule" for gov-
ernments and EU authorities.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico
said pushing through the quota sys-
tem had "nonsensically" caused a
deep rift over a highly-sensitive issue
and that, "as long as I am prime
minister," Slovakia would not imple-
ment a quota.
This year s influx of nearly half a
million people fleeing war and pover-
ty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa
has plunged the EU into disputes
over border controls and bitter
recriminations over how to share
Eastern states with no tradition
of integrating large numbers of Mus-
lims are anxious about the impact
on their societies and keen to avoid
any signal that might encourage even
more desperate people to set sail
across the Mediterranean for Europe.
Ministers had hoped to achieve
consensus at yesterday s meeting
rather than ramming through a vote
in which the easterners would be in
the minority, fearing this could fur-
ther poison relations.
The UN refugee agency, the
UNHCR, said the EU decision was
an "important first step in a united
European response to managing the
The 120,000 people the bloc was
seeking to share out were equivalent
to just 20 days worth of arrivals at
the current rate, UNHCR spokesman
Melissa Fleming said earlier.
Burkina Faso s coup leader has defied an ultima-
tum to step down, saying his forces will retaliate
Army chiefs had given Gen Gilbert Diendere a
deadline to surrender or face an assault.
The army has ordered anti-coup protesters in the
capital, Ouagadougou, to return home, amid fears of
Gen Diendere seized power last week with the
backing of the presidential guard, but the army has
remained loyal to the deposed government.
Its troops have entered the capital, vowing to retake
it. The European Union (EU) has called on the pres-
idential guard to immediately lay down their weapons
to avoid bloodshed.
Army chief of staff Pingrenoma Zagre said he was
awaiting "instructions" from the Economic Com-
munity of West African States (Ecowas) regional
body, which had put together a peace plan for the
former French colony.
At least ten people have been killed and more than
100 injured since the coup in clashes between the
presidential guard and protesters.
Gen Diendere seems to be backed into a corner
by international and national pressure.
Many people in the capital support the army. How-
ever, they feel betrayed by Ecowas peace plan, which
would give Gen Diendere and his troops full amnesty,
and allow candidates of former ruler Blaise Compaore
to run for presidency in elections to be held by the
end of November.
Mr Compaore, who was in power for 27 years, was
ousted in a popular uprising last year.
The interim president took office to pave the way
for democratic elections.
GEORGETOWN---Guyana is distributing free life
jackets to youngsters and riverboat employees in
an effort to reduce drownings on the boats carrying
passengers and goods along rivers in South
On Monday, Guyana's maritime administration
said it's expanding a programme that has already
distributed vests to Amerindian students in
Guyana's western Cuyuni region who use boats to
attend schools far from home.
Officials say more than 35 people have died in
river boat accidents over the last two years. (AP)
HAJJ AT HERA
Guyana says Venezuela deploys troops to disputed border
Migrants take a selfie on the bridge over the river Mur as they cross the
border from Slovenia to Bad Radkersburg, Austria on Monday.
A Muslim pilgrim climbs up the Hera cave, where
Muslims believe Prophet Mohammad received the
first words of the Koran through Gabriel, at the
top of Mount Al-Noor during the annual haj
pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Monday.
More than two million Muslims yesterday started
the first rites of the annual hajj in Saudi Arabia,
one of the world's largest pilgrimages that draws
the faithful to the holy city of Mecca for rituals
and prayers to erase their sins. REUTERS PHOTOS
Burkina Faso coup
leader defies ultimatum
Venezuela, Colombia to
normalise ties after border row
Pope urges 'revolution of
tenderness' for Cubans
Guyana handing out life jackets
to curb river drownings
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