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Contact Group on Venezuela vows international guarantees for new election
The International Contact Group on Venezuela, which held its first meeting in Montevideo on Thursday, has vowed to provide international guarantees for new presidential elections in the country and prompt delivery of humanitarian aid, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has told reporters.
"The group… will proceed with necessary contacts with relevant Venezuelan actors as well as with regional and international partners with the aim of, first, assisting in establishing the necessary guarantees for a credible electoral process within the earliest timeframe possible and, second, enable the urgent delivery of assistance in accordance with international humanitarian principles," she said.
To implement these goals, the International Contact Group will send a technical mission to Venezuela "in the coming weeks," Mogherini went on. The group will reconvene at the ministerial level by the beginning of March. In between, a meeting of senior officials will be held "in the next couple of weeks."
The EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy told reporters that the group has agreed on the set of measures intended to facilitate the electoral process and dialogue.
"When it comes to the minimum conditions, the confidence-building measures that we see are needed and are going to be the objective of our work of accompanying of the process - that I stress has to be and we want [it] to be Venezuelan process, completely owned by the citizens of Venezuela - they are clearly stated in our terms of reference," she said.
According to Mogherini, those measures include "the release of political prisoners, lifting of the ban on opposition politicians and political parties to run for public office, recognition and respect for the national assembly’s constitutional role," as well as "facilitation of external assistance to address the pressing needs of the population" and "the balanced composition of the national electoral council, the elimination of the obstacles to the equal participation of opposition political parties in elections and the lift of disqualification of the opposition leaders."
"All of these issues will have to be elements of discussion and when we refer for the need of guarantees, this is what we refer to," she said.
Answering to media questions about the delivery of humanitarian cargoes to Venezuela, including those being accumulated in the United States and Colombia, she said that the Contact Group is committed to having it channeled "in an impartial and independent manner, so that humanitarian aid is never politicized."
The EU foreign policy chief reiterated that the Venezuelan crisis can be solved only by Venezuelans themselves, in a peaceful and political way, through free and fair elections and without military interference.
Situation in Venezuela
On January 23, Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas.
Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
On February 4, most of the European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.
[Source: Itar Tass, Montevideo, 07Feb19]
DDHH en Venezuela
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