UPDATE 1-Century-old Guyana-Venezuela border spat flares after Exxon find
(Adds Exxon comment)
By Neil Marks
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, June 8 (Reuters) - Guyana's new government attacked on Monday a territorial decree by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as an attempt to annex its waters following an oil discovery.
The dispute between the South American neighbors goes back to the early 19th century and resurfaced after an offshore oil discovery by ExxonMobil Corp last month.
The decree creates a theoretical "defense" zone offshore that would, in Venezuela's eyes, leave the former British colony with no direct access to the Atlantic.
Guyana's foreign ministry described the decree as a "flagrant violation of international law".
"Guyana rejects this illegality, which seeks to undermine our development through the exploitation of our natural resources offshore," it said in a statement.
In April, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez wrote a letter to Exxon's Guyana country manager, Jeff Simon, saying Venezuela would not accept the incursion or interference of any multinational company in the disputed territory.
The controversy centers on land to the west of Guyana's Essequibo River, encompassing around two-thirds of the small English-speaking nation on the shoulder of South America. Continuación...