Caracas: The president of Venezuela said Monday he recalled the country`s ambassador to Guyana for consultations, as the border dispute between the two nations escalates after a significant offshore oil find.
President Nicolas Maduro said he decided to also reduce the size of the embassy in Guyana and that he ordered a review of relations with Venezuela`s eastern neighbor.
Earlier this month Guyana warned Venezuela against escalating a border dispute, after Caracas laid claim to waters off the Essequibo region.
Maduro declared Guyana was provoking Venezuela with American backing.
"Everything is part of a plan of provocation that has strong support and funding from oil companies, Exxon Mobil, powerful lobbyists in Washington, and agencies of American power, including the Pentagon," Maduro said in his lengthy televised address on the conflict.
The dispute comes ahead of December parliamentary elections as Maduro faces a sharp drop in popularity, soaring inflation and shortages in basic goods. He has frequently blamed the US for conspiring against him.
Guyana`s president, David Granger, said Maduro`s decision to recall Venezuela`s ambassador was unsurprising.
"He is just increasing the isolation of his government from the region" Granger told reporters.
Guyana and Venezuela have traded accusations over the disputed Essequibo region that comprises two-thirds of Guyana`s 215,000 square kilometers (83,000 square miles).
Venezuela claims territory stretching from its eastern edge to the Essequibo river, and all maritime rights off the coast.
A former British colony, Guyana says the border dispute was settled in 1899 by a court of arbitration.
After Venezuela redrew its boundary in the area to include the oil find off the coast from Georgetown, Guyana appealed to the UN to settle the conflict.
If Venezuela wins, it would take over more than one half of Guyana`s entire territory.