EU sets contact group for Venezuela
“On Venezuela: First of all, I have seen a very united position among Member States on a position we have already expressed several times, but it was reiterated strongly today – that is that the Presidential elections that were held in last May in Venezuela were lacking democratic legitimacy”, said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the first day of informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in Bucharest.
“This is why the European Union and its Member States decided not to attend the inauguration of Maduro on 10 January and this is why we underline strongly and all united today our full support to the National Assembly as the democratic, legitimate body of Venezuela and the strongest possible support to its President in its institutional role.
“We have decided the establishment of an international contact group that has been agreed among our Member States and with some Latin American countries that will participate in it. I believe the terms of reference of this international contact group can be made public, as an act of transparency.
“The objective of this international contact group that will be coordinated by the European Union will be, first of all, to have a limited time framework – 90 days – to promote a common understanding and a concerted approach among key international actors on the situation in Venezuela, aiming at a peaceful and democratic outcome for the crisis. The group will help to build trust and create the conditions that are necessary for a credible process to emerge in line with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Venezuela, enabling Venezuelans to determine their own future through the holding of new elections, with all guarantees for a free and fair electoral process that can be supervised by international, independent observers.
“The objective – and I want to underline it very clearly – is not to open a formal mediation process and not to open a formal dialogue, but to support a political dynamic that the group can then further accompany and consolidate.
The group has a clear mandate with different phases and a clear time framework, because the work and the results possibly achieved by the contact group will be reviewed after 90 days of its creation, and it will be terminated in the absence of sufficient progress.
The first meeting of the group shall take place at ministerial level in Latin America – hopefully we will be able to convene it already next week. We will have meetings both at ministerial and at technical level and, as I said, it will have a permanent secretariat for these initial 90 days in the EU. Part of the group will be on the European Union side – obviously, the European Union, but also some of our Member States: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK – and on the Latin American side we already have confirmation from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Bolivia. And we are waiting for confirmation from another few countries of which I would not mention the name today. But hopefully in the coming one or two days I will be able communicate them to you.”
“As you see, it is countries that have different positions and that will help the contact group to have contacts to accompany the process, in particular of new presidential elections” Mogherini concluded.
However not everyone believes the American narrative about Maduro being a tyrant, there are more free voices on social media, accusing Trump administration in seeking control over the largest in the world oil resources.