The United States, the European Union (EU) and Canada indicated on Friday that they wish to “review” sanctions against Nicolas Maduro’s government in Venezuela if Venezuela-led talks move toward free elections.
Both the country and the regional bloc, which are unaware of Maduro’s mandate that began in 2019 and were elected as a result of fraudulent elections in 2020, called for a “peaceful solution” to the “deep crisis” in Venezuela.
“We welcome concrete and credible progress in restoring essential democratic processes and institutions in Venezuela and we stand ready to review sanctions policies based on significant progress in comprehensive dialogue,” he said in a joint statement.
The United States, the European Union and Canada have imposed several economic sanctions on Caracas, including a de facto blockade by Washington of Venezuelan crude, under concerted diplomatic pressure to “restore democracy” in the South American country.
The text, released on Friday, was signed by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, and Canada’s Secretary of State, Marc Garneau.
The trio stressed the need to establish an internal dialogue in Venezuela “with the participation of all interested parties”, leading to “credible, inclusive and transparent local, legislative and presidential elections”.
To that end, he called for the “unconditional release of all people unjustly detained for political reasons, freedom of political parties, freedom of expression, including members of the press, and an end to human rights abuses.”
“We call for electoral conditions that meet international standards for democracy, starting with local and regional elections to be held in November 2021,” he said.
– “Three points started” –
The joint statement coincided with a visit to Washington this week by representatives of Venezuela’s opposition Juan Guaidó, who called an international meeting to try to define “plans” to lift sanctions imposed against the Maduro government in the event of possible talks. started the tour.
The United States, Canada and several European countries are among 60 countries that backed Guaidó as interim president when the head of the National Assembly elected in 2015.
Guaidó last month proposed resuming talks with Maduro, a change from his stated goal of setting up a transitional government in January 2019 to remove the ruler and hold new elections.
Maduro, who in August 2019 ended Norway-sponsored dialogue by rejecting an increase in punitive measures by the United States, said he would engage with the opposition “whenever they want, where and how they want.”
But he raised as a condition “three points to begin with”: an end to “unilateral coercive measures” against Venezuela, “full recognition” of the current National Assembly dominated by the ruling party, and the release of state bank accounts. blocked abroad.
– Exploratory missions of the European Union –
An attempt to reactivate a dialogue between Maduro and the opposition in Venezuela coincided with a new directive from the National Electoral Council (CNE) calling for the election of governors and mayors on 21 November.
The European Union received the appointment of the new CNE by an intelligently anonymous National Assembly, made up of three members affiliated with the ruling party and two from opposition areas away from Guaidó.
CNE said on Friday that EU representatives will visit Venezuela in July to explore the possibility of deploying observation missions for the November elections. The group, made up of three officials and four election experts, is expected to be in the country till July 23.
EU representatives were already in Caracas in 2020, seeking to persuade Venezuelan officials to deploy an election observation mission to postpone that year’s legislative elections for a period of “five or six months”. Were were
In addition to the political crisis, Venezuela, ruled by Maduro since 2013, is facing an economic and social debacle that has forced 5.6 million people out of the country in recent years, according to the United Nations.
In their statement on Friday, the United States, the European Union and Canada highlighted their commitment to “addressing the grave humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela and to allow the entry of food, medicine and supplies to fight “all A great compromise between political actors”. Against Covid-19.
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