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UN chief seeks to settle Guyana-Venezuela border controversy

UNITED NATIONS, July 30 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday held a telephone conversation with President of Guyana David Granger on the long-standing Guyana-Venezuela territorial dispute over the Essequibo Guyana region.

"The Secretary-General took note of President Granger's views regarding the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy," said the readout of their phone call.

The secretary-general stated his intent to dispatch UN Secretariat staffers to undertake a mission to both Guyana and Venezuela. He expressed his willingness to further discuss the issue with the presidents of both countries on the basis of the mission's recommendations, according to the readout.

On Tuesday, President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela met with the secretary-general at the United Nations headquarters in New York and asked him to help settle the long-standing dispute with Guyana over Caracas' claim to the Essequibo Guyana region using a 1966 Geneva Agreement.

The Venezuelan leader said he briefed Ban on the dispute, dating back to an 1835 arbitration involving the United States representing Venezuela when Guyana was a British colony and London wouldn't speak with Caracas leaders. Venezuela has since declared that decision "null and void."

Maduro, who spoke to reporters here after his meeting with the UN chief, said that he wanted the secretary-general to use his good offices in the dispute, in which Caracas claims more than half of Guyana from Venezuela's eastern border to the Essequibo River, a territory known as Guyana Essequibo.

The area is mostly jungle but believed to have a potential reserve of minerals and possibly petroleum.

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