Oil pro­duc­ers urged to co­op­er­ate Guatemala set to send bor­der dis­pute to UN

Viet Nam News - - WORLD -

KUWAIT CITY — Omani and Kuwaiti oil min­is­ters yes­ter­day called on OPEC and non-OPEC pro­duc­ers to con­tinue their un­prece­dented co­op­er­a­tion to main­tain sta­bil­ity in the en­ergy mar­ket.

Pro­duc­ers from the OPEC oil car­tel and non-OPEC coun­tries struck a deal in 2016 to trim pro­duc­tion by 1.8 mil­lion bar­rels per day to re­bal­ance the mar­ket af­ter its col­lapse in 2014.

The deal, which runs out at the end of this year, has suc­ceeded in boost­ing oil prices above US$70 a bar­rel from be­low $30 a bar­rel in early 2016.

“I call for the sig­na­to­ries of the (co­op­er­a­tion) dec­la­ra­tion agree­ment, those 24 na­tions from OPEC and non-OPEC, to con­tinue the di­a­logue, the un­der­stand­ing and com­mit­ment in main­tain­ing the mar­ket con­di­tions that will en­cour­age in­vest­ment,” Omani Oil Min­is­ter Mo­hamed al-Rumhi told an oil con­fer­ence in Kuwait.

He also called for en­hanc­ing “col­lab­o­ra­tion and work to­gether to en­sure se­cu­rity of sup­ply for con­sumers and se­cu­rity of de­mand for pro­duc­ers”.

Kuwait’s Oil Min­is­ter Bakheet al-Rasheedi said he be­lieves that oil pro­duc­ers were on the right path to re­store sta­bil­ity to the oil mar­ket.

“A year ago, there was a sur­plus of 340 mil­lion bar­rels of oil. At the end of Fe­bru­ary, the sur­plus dropped to 50 mil­lion bar­rels and we be­lieve we are on the right path to get rid of this sur­plus,” Rasheedi told re­porters.

He said that the OPEC and non-OPEC co­op­er­a­tion will be re­viewed at an OPEC meet­ing in June.

“Mar­ket con­di­tions will de­ter­mine whether the deal will be ex­tended be­yond 2018 or ar­rive at a per­ma­nent agree­ment... to sup­port the mar­ket on a long-term ba­sis,” he said.

OPEC king­pin Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates and sev­eral other coun­tries have called for strik­ing a long-term co­op­er­a­tion deal to sta­bilise the oil mar­ket.

OPEC sec­re­tary gen­eral Mo­ham­mad Sanusi Barkindo told the Kuwait con­fer­ence that the 2016 deal achieved a great suc­cess in over­com­ing the “worst cy­cle in the his­tory of oil”.

A “new chap­ter is be­ing au­thored” by OPEC and nonOPEC pro­duc­ers to con­tinue co­op­er­a­tion, he said.

“In the months ahead, we will look to in­sti­tu­tion­alise this longterm frame­work for con­ti­nu­ity with an in­clu­sive and broad­based par­tic­i­pa­tion,” Barkindo said.

The joint min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee of OPEC and non-OPEC min­is­ters, which mon­i­tors com­pli­ance to pro­duc­tion cuts, meets in Jed­dah, Saudi Ara­bia on Fri­day to re­view ad­her­ence and dis­cuss long-term co­op­er­a­tion. — AFP GUATEMALA CITY — Gu­atemalans voted over­whelm­ingly on Sun­day to send a cen­turies-old bor­der dis­pute with neigh­bour­ing Belize to the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice (ICJ) for fi­nal res­o­lu­tion, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary ref­er­en­dum re­sults.

A to­tal of 95.89 per cent voted “yes”, with votes from over 92 per cent of polling sta­tions ac­counted for, said Gus­tavo Castillo of the Supreme Elec­toral Tri­bunal.

Polls closed at 6:00pm lo­cal time af­ter 11 hours of vot­ing, which took place “with­out re­ports of se­cu­rity in­ci­dents,” tri­bunal pres­i­dent Maria Eu­ge­nia Mi­jan­gos said.

But de­spite 7.5 mil­lion Gu­atemalans be­ing sum­moned to the bal­lot box, the vote was marked by low turnout.

The bor­der dis­agree­ment, whose roots go back two cen­turies, has seen ten­sions spike from time to time. Two years ago Guatemala mo­bilised 3,000 troops along the densely forested un­marked bor­der zone af­ter an in­ci­dent in which a Gu­atemalan teenager was fa­tally shot.

A Belize bor­der pa­trol had opened fire af­ter be­ing shot at, but an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Amer­i­can States found it not re­spon­si­ble for the death.

The two na­tions agreed in 2008 to send the dis­pute to The Hague-based ICJ, if the peo­ple of both coun­tries ap­proved.

Ob­servers from 25 coun­tries were on hand to mon­i­tor the polling.

Belize has not yet fixed a date for its ref­er­en­dum on the is­sue, al­though of­fi­cials say it could take place next year.

The Gu­atemalan plebiscite asked vot­ers to re­spond “yes” or “no” as to whether any le­gal claims by Guatemala against Belize re­lat­ing to its ter­ri­to­ries “should be sub­mit­ted to the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice for fi­nal set­tle­ment” and bound­ary de­ter­mi­na­tion.

Mi­jan­gos told re­porters that voter ap­a­thy was a big risk. Ef­forts by Pres­i­dent Jimmy Mo­rales to boost turnout have foundered on the rocks of his low pop­u­lar­ity.

‘Very im­por­tant is­sue’

On Sun­day, Mi­jan­gos said: “We are call­ing on all Gu­atemalans, es­pe­cially the youth mak­ing up the ma­jor­ity of the elec­torate, to par­tic­i­pate, to go to polling sta­tions to put in their vote on this very im­por­tant is­sue which has taken so many years to find a so­lu­tion to.”

Mo­rales said as he voted that the two coun­tries had “very good bi­lat­eral re­la­tions” and he hoped the dis­pute could be re­solved.

Guatemala has made claims over more than half of Belize’s ter­ri­tory, dat­ing back to when its English-speak­ing neigh­bour was a Bri­tish colony known as Bri­tish Hon­duras.

The bor­der is­sue goes back to 1783 when Spain — the for­mer colo­nial power over what is now Guatemala — gave Britain the right to oc­cupy the ter­ri­tory that be­came Belize and ex­ploit its tim­ber in ex­change for com­bat­ing piracy. A cen­tury later, it be­came a Bri­tish colony.

In 1964 Bri­tish Hon­duras won the right to self-gov­ern­ment and in 1973 re­named it­self Belize.

In­de­pen­dence came in 1981, though a Bri­tish mil­i­tary pres­ence re­mained un­til the mid-1990s be­cause Guatemala re­fused for a decade to recog­nise it as a new coun­try. — AFP

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