UPDATE-VENEZUELA-BORDER-Venezuela responds to statement by Guyana government.

CARACAS -- Venezuela Tuesday said it rejects the 'offensive statements' made by the Guyana government regarding the upcoming consultative referendum on the Essequibo, which the South American country continues to claim as part of its territory.

'The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela categorically rejects the infamous and offensive statements of the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, regarding the consultative referendum scheduled for December 3, 2023, which are loaded with deep contempt for the people Venezuelan, its Bolivarian history and its right to express itself, in a democratic manner, in matters of special national importance,' Caracas said in a statement.

Earlier Georgetown said is is concerned that Venezuela's December 3 referendum could lay the ground work for the annexation of the county of Essequibo, which Caracas has been claiming belongs to it.

In a statement, the Guyana government said it had taken 'careful note' of the issuance by the National Electoral Council of Venezuela of five questions to be asked in the national referendum.

It said among other questions, all of which are intended to further Venezuela's 'unlawful and unfounded claim to more than two-thirds of Guyana's national territory, question five is the most pernicious.

'It brazenly seeks the approval of the Venezuelan people of the creation of a new Venezuelan State consisting of Guyana's Essequibo Region, which would be incorporated into the national territory of Venezuela, and the granting of Venezuelan citizenship to the population.'

Guyana said this 'amounts to nothing less than the annexation of Guyana's territory, in blatant violation of the most fundamental rules of the UN Charter, the OAS Charter and general international law.

'Such a seizure of Guyana's territory would constitute the international crime of aggression,' the Irfaan Ali government said, adding that it 'categorically rejects any attempt to undermine the territorial integrity of the sovereign State of Guyana'.

But Caracas in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, said that Guyana's statements, 'once again, are being drafted by the law firm employed by Exxon Mobil, a company that has corrupted the Latin American and Caribbean values of this nation and has bought off the Guyanese political class, dragging them into erratic actions, contrary to the Public International Law, with the objectives of appropriating energy resources that do not belong to it and...

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