Uruguay meeting on Venezuelan crisis seeks 'peaceful solution,' says EU envoy
Updated 11:11, 09-Feb-2019
CGTN

Some 13 countries and the European Union (EU) gathered in Montevideo on Thursday to promote a "peaceful and democratic solution" to the Venezuelan crisis, said an EU senior diplomat.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela, Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, underscored the importance of avoiding violence and armed conflicts.

"We may have different points of view and understandings of the causes of this crisis, but we share a similar objective: to contribute to a political, peaceful and democratic solution," said Mogherini. 

She made the remarks amid repeated threats from the U.S., which backs the right-wing opposition in Venezuela and expressed willingness to consider a military option to oust President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling socialist party.

Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez said, "The biggest choice facing Venezuela is between war and peace, that is why we are persistently calling for serenity on the sides involved and for prudence from the international community."

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Maduro launched on Thursday a petition drive against what he called American interference in his country. He rallied supporters at a square in the capital Caracas, expressing hopes to attract 10 million signatures to present to the White House.

Political tensions in Venezuela between the government and opposition groups came to a head after Maduro was sworn into a new term on January 10. Alleging that the Maduro administration is illegitimate, opposition leader Juan Guaido, who was head of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president during an anti-government rally on January 23.

Uruguay, Mexico unveil a four-step proposal

Uruguay and Mexico on Wednesday unveiled a four-step proposal to bring Venezuela's disputing parties closer to a negotiated solution to the political crisis.

The "Montevideo Mechanism" was announced by Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa and his Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard at a press conference.

Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard speaks at a press conference following a meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela in Montevideo, February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard speaks at a press conference following a meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela in Montevideo, February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo

The first step calls for immediate dialogue to create conditions for direct contact between Venezuela's ruling socialist party and President Maduro and the right-wing opposition led by self-proclaimed interim president Guaido, Novoa said. That would be followed by a negotiation phase, a commitments phase, and a final implementation phase, according to Novoa.   

Uruguay and Mexico have also proposed three prominent regional figures to advance the mechanism.

Russia warns the U.S. against use of force

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned on Thursday the U.S. against using force to topple the legitimate government of Venezuela.   

"It would be a big mistake on the part of the U.S.," Ryabkov told a press conference, adding that the use of force will lead to a surge in bloodshed and consequences that will also have repercussions outside Venezuela.

He said that Moscow expects the meeting of Latin American and EU countries in Uruguay to make a "serious political, intellectual and creative contribution to a real solution to the problems in Venezuela."

(Cover: Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Uruguay's Foreign Affairs Minister (L), gestures towards Federica Mogherini, Foreign Policy Chief of the EU, at a press conference following a meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela in Montevideo, Uruguay, February 7, 2019. /VCG Photo)

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency