UN will not join any group on Venezuela crisis talks: Guterres
CGTN

The United Nations will not join any group of nations promoting initiatives to resolve the crisis in Venezuela, the UN chief said Monday, indicating he will not attend a meeting of several countries in Uruguay this week.

Mexico and Uruguay had hoped that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would attend a conference in Montevideo on Thursday aimed at promoting dialogue between Venezuela's self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido and leader Nicolas Maduro.

"The UN secretariat has decided not to be part of any of these groups in order to give credibility to our continued offer of good offices to the parties to be able at their request to help find a political solution," Guterres told reporters.

Mexico and Uruguay have not recognized Guaido, the head of the National Assembly who declared himself acting president on January 23 in place of Maduro.

A group of Latin American and European states are to hold their first meeting of a contact group in Montevideo on Thursday.

The contact group comprises the EU and eight of its member states – France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden – and four Latin American countries: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay.

Guterres said he was following the crisis in Venezuela "with a lot of concern," adding that he had discussed the various initiatives put forward with the countries involved.

Last week, the UN chief met with Mexico's ambassador to the UN Juan Jose Gomez Camacho who said the Montevideo conference was to "offer a chance for dialogue to all parties involved."

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores wave while they walk next to soldiers during a ceremony to commemorate the 27th anniversary of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez coup attempt in Maracay, Venezuela, February 4, 2019. /VCG Photo

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores wave while they walk next to soldiers during a ceremony to commemorate the 27th anniversary of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez coup attempt in Maracay, Venezuela, February 4, 2019. /VCG Photo

Venezuela's government said on Monday it would revise bilateral relations with EU member states that have recognized Guaido as legitimate head-of-state, saying their move would affect relations with Caracas.

The government "expresses its most energetic rejection of the decision adopted by some European governments, in which they officially submit to the U.S. administration's strategy to overthrow the legitimate government of President Nicolas Maduro," it said in a statement, and singled out Spain for acting "cowardly."

Among other EU nations recognizing Guaido were: Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden. The United States welcomed the EU nations' recognition of Guaido and encouraged other countries to follow suit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Read more: Major European nations recognize Guaido as Venezuela's leader

Italy, however, blocked a joint EU position to recognize Guaido, diplomatic sources said, with the government in Rome deeply divided over the issue. Norway, not an EU member, said it also was not recognizing him.

The Lima Group of Latin American countries and Canada called Monday for a peaceful change in government in Venezuela, without military intervention. They also urged Venezuela's military to support Guaido as interim president and "not to impede the entry and transit of humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans."  

Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nestor Francisco Popolizio Bardales (L), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland applaud after Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Gauido made a statement via video to the 10th Lima Group in Ottawa, Ontario, February 4, 2019. /VCG Photo

Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nestor Francisco Popolizio Bardales (L), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland applaud after Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Gauido made a statement via video to the 10th Lima Group in Ottawa, Ontario, February 4, 2019. /VCG Photo

Eleven of the group's 14 members said in a joint statement after meeting in Ottawa – which saw protesters briefly disrupt a closing press conference – that they "reiterate their support for a process of peaceful transition through political and diplomatic means without the use of force."

Guaido accused Maduro's government of trying to move up to 1.2 billion U.S. dollars from the state development bank Bandes to a financial entity in Uruguay, but did not present evidence. Guaido urged Uruguay to prevent the move. Uruguay's central bank and the office of the country's president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Maduro blames Washington and other Western nations for sabotaging Venezuela's economy, including through sanctions. The United States last week imposed sanctions on Venezuelan state-owned oil firm PDVSA. U.S. President Donald Trump, in an interview that aired on Sunday, said military intervention in Venezuela was "an option."

Read more: Trump considers military intervention in Venezuela an 'option'

Source(s): AFP ,Reuters