According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, this development has not yet been relayed “formally or informally” to Georgetown, but the issue has been under “active consideration by the Saudi authorities since Guyana initiated the request.”
Despite having a sizable Muslim minority, and being a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Guyana and Saudi Arabia have never established diplomatic ties. This move by Riyadh will pave the way for the appointment of honourary consuls in both countries, and may see the appointment of Ambassador Odeen Ishmael to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis have also sought the approval of Guyana to appoint of a representative in Georgetown.
“We welcome this request and have since sought clarification on what position the person will hold. We are waiting a response,” said Carolyn Rodriguez-Birkett, Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Moreover, formal ties between Guyana and Saudi Arabia will make it easier and cheaper for Guyanese Muslims to make the Hajji, one of the five pillars of Islam. Most Guyanese Muslims are Sunnis like their Saudi brethrens.
Guyana hopes diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia will facilitate trade and investments between the two countries. Guyana is keen in attracting Arab investments and capital to develop its economic sectors. Saudi Arabia is also a member of the OIC, and is one of the largest shareholders of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), an arm of the OIC.