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Grenada worried about instabality in Venezuela

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) – Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell says the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela could easily engulf the Caribbean and urged a peaceful solution to the matter.

“Venezuela is right at our borders so what is happening there, if it is not dealt with or solved peacefully, it can have serious consequences for all the countries in the region, including Grenada,” Mitchell said.

The United States is leading a number of western and Latin American countries in recognising the Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaidó, who last Wednesday declared himself the interim leader of the South American country.

But Russia, China and Cuba are among countries that are supporting President Nicolás Maduro, who was sworn into office earlier this month for a second consecutive term as head of state.

Washington and its allies have accused Maduro of suppressing democratic rights in the country and have called for his removal. Caracas has broken off diplomatic relations with Washington and Maduro has accused the powerful North American country of engineering a coup to remove him from office.

Mitchell warned that “if that situation in Venezuela is allowed to prevail, where the United States and other countries have taken one side and China and Russia have taken another side, and either side provides military and other forms of support, without serious mediation, we can see it engulfing the region and all of us will pay a heavy price”.

Mitchell said serious mediation is the only way to amicably resolve the crisis.

“We hope with the UN support, Caricom support and the support of other countries around the world, there can be some initiative taken to mediate the situation there. No attempt should be made to appear to imply that one side should be dealt with and the other side forgotten,” he added.

Caricom leaders Monday held talks with United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, as well as the permanent representatives of Canada, Russia, the European Union and the African Union, on the ongoing political situation in Venezuela.

A communiqué issued following the talks at the United Nations noted that the Caribbean leaders had expressed their “grave concern over the untenable situation” in the South American country and “strongly urged that further deterioration would seriously aggravate the plight of Venezuelans.

“The Caribbean Community is steadfast that the region must remain a Zone of Peace,” the communiqué stated.

Meanwhile, Maduro has said he is prepared to meet with the opposition in Trinidad and Tobago or anywhere else to solve the crisis.

In a statement to members of the Venezuelan diplomatic corps on Monday, Maduro confirmed that he held talks with Caricom leaders on Monday.

“They were in New York. They met with the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres. I spoke with all of them at length during the afternoon. I spoke with Evo Morales (president of Bolivia). We are also establishing contact with governments who offered to mediate dialogue and I told them I am ready once again in Venezuela or in Trinidad and Tobago or wherever to begin a round of conversations, dialogue, negotiations, with all of the Venezuelan opposition when and where they want them,” he added.


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