Russian FM upholds dialogue between Venezuelan government, opposition

Jeannie Matthews
February 7, 2019

The Venezuelan military has barricaded a bridge at a key border crossing, issuing a challenge on Wednesday to a USA -backed effort by the opposition to bring humanitarian aid into the troubled nation.

On Monday, 16 European Union (EU) nations recognised Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim President, in a move backed by the United States, after Maduro failed to fulfil their demand to announce fresh Presidential elections by Sunday.

The crisis in Venezuela came to a boiling point when Maduro was recently sworn in for a second term as Venezuela's president, despite global criticism that his re-election is illegitimate.

Canada has announced a humanitarian relief package for Venezuela.

At the Group's meeting Monday in Ottawa, Canada, which is a member, pledged $53 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela.

He said: "We are not beggars".

Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA is looking to sell more of its oil to customers in Europe and Asia as the USA sanctions are cutting off US buyers of its crude, a senior Venezuelan oil official loyal to Nicolas Maduro told Russian news outlet Sputnik in an interview published on Wednesday. You want to humiliate Venezuela, and I will not let our people be humiliated.

"We are prepared to work with the provisional government of Venezuela, the National Assembly and President Guaido".

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Radev, head of state for the past two years after election on a ticket backed by the opposition and pro-Moscow Bulgarian Socialist Party, said that there is a real risk of escalation and violence in Venezuela, and it was critical to maintain dialogue between the government and the opposition.

In a declaration, the group urged the Venezuelan military to support Guaidó.

But the Pope has said that, although he was deeply concerned by the humanitarian suffering, he was not in a position to mediate.

The US, which has not ruled out military intervention in crisis-wracked Venezuela, was the first to recognize him as acting president, followed by a dozen Latin American countries.

The United States could attempt to seek the approval of the United Nations Security Council to deliver aid without Maduro's cooperation, but Russian Federation could block such a move.

Emergency talks at the headquarters of the Organization of American States in Washington will also be held on February 14 to help deliver aid to the country's population facing major shortages of food and medicine.

"We discussed mutual support for Venezuela's Interim President Guaido, including logistics for providing humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan people", Bolton tweeted. Mexico opposes any measures to oust Mr Maduro, who also has the backing of Turkey, Russia and China.

But speaking to reporters en route home from the United Arab Emirates, he recalled that a previous Vatican diplomatic effort to facilitate talks between Maduro and the opposition "went up in smoke".

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