UPDATE 1-Venezuela demands Guyana halt 'imperial' oil exploration
(Adds comment by Maduro and analyst comment)
CARACAS, June 9 (Reuters) - Venezuela on Tuesday demanded that neighboring Guyana halt oil exploration being carried out by Exxon Mobil Corp in disputed offshore territory in an escalation of a long-running border dispute between the two South American nations.
Exxon last month said it found oil off Guyana's coast, spurring complaints from Caracas that Guyana is unfairly exploiting a disputed territory that must be negotiated through a mechanism created via a 1966 treaty signed in Geneva.
"Until there is a resolution of the issue of territorial reclamation ... there can be no unilateral use of these waters," Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said in televised comments.
"The new government of Guyana shows a dangerous political provocation against a peaceful Venezuela, supported by the imperial power of an American transnational, Exxon Mobil," she said, referring to Guyanese authorities elected in May.
Exxon has said it has no comment on the bilateral dispute.
Guyana's new government on Monday attacked a territorial decree by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as an attempt to annex its waters following an oil discovery.
"(That was) a grave diplomatic mistake. Exxon Mobil is behind all this," Maduro said in a televised broadcast on Tuesday evening.
"I hope... the Guyanese president can reflect and take the necessary steps for a process of dialogue and abandon grandiloquent discourse and stop listening to the bad, pernicious and wrong advice from Exxon Mobil and the officials it has bought." Continuación...