Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro demanded on Tuesday that neighbouring Guyana stop oil exploration in a disputed offshore territory. The exploration is being carried out by US oil giant Exxon Mobile. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez called the exploration "a dangerous political provocation". Venezuela has been claiming the disputed mineral-rich region west of the Essequibo river as its own since the 19th Century. An international tribunal ruled in 1899 that the area formed part of Guyana, which at the time was a British colony. Guyana's newly elected President, David Granger, in turn released a statement on Sunday calling Venezuela's decree a "flagrant violation of international law". He also accused Venezuela of wishing "to trample on the rights of a smaller country in order to obstruct the sovereign right of Guyana to develop its natural resources". President Granger insisted that Guyana would continue to develop the offshore natural resources it considered its own.
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