President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, will visit the construction site of the international airport at Argyle and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves when he makes an official, one-day visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday.
Maduro is scheduled to arrive at the E.T. Joshua Airport at 10:30 a.m., where Gonsalves and members of his Cabinet will greet him.
There will be a short welcome ceremony at the airport, which will include the playing of National Anthems of both countries.
Maduro will then visit the control tower, drive along the runway, and then visit the terminal building of the airport, which is scheduled to become operational by year-end, after missing completion deadlines annually since 2011.
Venezuela has provided loans and other contribution to the construction of the EC$729 million airport, which the Gonsalves government says will revolutionise the Vincentian economy.
The leaders will hold a joint media briefing at the food court of the terminal building.
There will be a luncheon at the official residence of the Prime Minister, then both leaders will hold bilateral talks on matters of mutual interest, at the residence of the Prime Minister.
Maduro is scheduled to depart SVG around 2:30 p.m.
SVG is the third Caribbean country that Maduro has visited in recent weeks.
The South American leader visited St Kitts and Nevis and storm-ravaged Dominica on Sept. 24, carrying messages of solidarity and offers of support.
His visit to the region comes amidst on-going tension between Venezuela and its CARICOM neighbour, Guyana, over a territorial dispute.
Caracas is claiming a large path of Guyana as a decade’s only border dispute continues.
Responding to a question at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday, Gonsalves restated his stance on the dispute, saying his position is that of the 15-member CARICOM.
“CARICOM has a long-standing friendship with Venezuela but Guyana is a foundation member of the Caribbean Community and a leading member of the Caribbean Community,” Gonsalves said.
“And we are urging that this matter be settled in accordance with international law and that there be peace, and that you don’t have any escalation of conflict, war and a toning down of the rhetoric.
“And I have spoken in this regard both to President Maduro and also with President [David] Granger [of Guyana],” Gonsalves told reporters.