The US government is increasing its immediate military aid to Guyana, officials said Monday, as neighboring Venezuela threatens to seize a large swath of the country’s territory it has long claimed. .

The US is pledging to help Guyana buy new aircraft, helicopters, a fleet of military drones and, for the first time, radar technology. Details were not immediately clear, and Guyanese officials declined to say how much they expected to pay.

The confirmation of the plan came a day after US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Feiner and senior director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez met with officials in Guyana to discuss improving defense capabilities.

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His visit was the latest engagement of senior defense and administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blankenship On improving Guyana’s ability to defend itself against external threats.

“This cooperation is primarily defensive in nature and based on our desire for Guyana to defend its territorial integrity against any potential threats,” Finer told reporters late Sunday.

Essequibo Hermann Escarra is speaking.

Essequibo Hermann Escarra, Chairman of Guyana’s Special Commission for the Defense of Essequibo, stands next to a new map of Venezuela that includes the Essequibo region, a piece of land administered and controlled by Guyana but claimed by Venezuela. During an unveiling ceremony in Caracas, Venezuela, December 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthias Delacroix, File)

“We do not think it is appropriate for countries to threaten or publicly contemplate the use of force against another country,” he added. It was a veiled reference to Venezuela, which late last year deployed a small number of troops along its eastern border and annexed Guyana’s mineral-rich Esquibo region after holding a referendum to approve annexation. Threatened to join.

Tensions between the countries have cooled since talks brokered by Brazil and Caribbean leaders in December. A second round of talks involving foreign ministers was held in Brazil at the end of January to prepare for the upcoming summit between the two countries. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Guyanese President Irfan Ali.

At the height of tensions, the U.S. military assisted Guyana with overflight surveillance flights, and military advisers were on hand to support Guyana’s military, which is poorly equipped and has fewer than 5,000 troops for a country of about 800,000. are

Guyana’s president has said his administration will soon buy at least four US helicopters, along with a fleet of drones, fixed-wing aircraft and other equipment.

Chief of Staff Brigadier General Umar Khan said Associated Press On Monday, officials will also buy radar systems to improve air and maritime domain awareness and capabilities.

He said that capacity cannot be bought like institutions, it has to be built.

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