Document adopted by Contact Group on Venezuela aimed at supporting opposition, says Lavrov

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MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. A document on the Venezuela issue adopted by a contact group created by the European Union and a number of Latin American countries is aimed at unilaterally supporting the opposition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a joint press conference following talks with his Finnish counterpart Timo Soini on Tuesday.

“Mexico and Uruguay set up the so-called Montevideo mechanism involving a number of other Latin American countries and we actively support its efforts,” he noted. “Meanwhile, the EU for some reason thought it has the right to decide which representatives of other regions are eligible to engage in this activity,” the Russian top diplomat added.

Lavrov pointed out that Russia, China and several other countries expressed readiness to create an international group to support those efforts. “The EU has shown no constructive response so far. A contact group that the EU established together with some Latin American countries has passed a document that doesn’t contain the ultimatums some of the EU members put forward earlier, but on the whole it is aimed at unilaterally supporting the opposition,” Lavrov pointed out.

He added that he planned to meet with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in the near future. “Clearly, this situation and the EU’s approach will be on the agenda,” he said.

On February 7, Montevideo hosted the first meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela, which involved a number of EU member states, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay, while there were representatives of neither the Venezuelan authorities nor the opposition. The meeting’s participants pledged to provide international guarantees for a new presidential election in the country and ensure tan early delivery of humanitarian aid. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro refused to accept the Group’s statement.

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.

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