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Guyana says it gave permission for the US military to fly 2 powerful jets over the capital

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana’s government on Thursday said it gave permission for the U.S. military to fly two powerful F/A-18F Super Hornet jets over its capital to demonstrate the close military and other forms of cooperation between this oil-exporting South American nation and the United States.

The country had about three hours notice of the exercise through an American embassy announcement but most people appeared to have been surprised by the noisy and unprecedented fly over that comes in the midst of simmering tensions between Guyana and Venezuela over a large swath of Guyana’s territory.

A Guyana government statement said the “exercise seeks to deepen the ongoing security cooperation between our two countries,” but both sides stayed clear of any reference to moves by neighboring Venezuela to annex the oil and mineral-rich Essequibo region.

President Nicolás Maduro recently signed a law annexing the region. The U.S. has made it clear it supports Guyana in the ongoing dispute and had assisted with surveillance flights for Guyana late last year when Venezuela had threatened to invade the country.

The military exercise came just a day after U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen Julie Nethercot visited Guyana for talks pertaining to “deterring aggression, defeating threats and rapidly responding to crises,” as the Florida-based U.S. Southern Command reiterated its unwavering support for Guyana.

Guyana is awaiting a World Court decision on Venezuela’s claim to the region but Venezuela has said it does not recognize the court and will ignore its decision whenever it is handed down.

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