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Venezuelan foreign minister insists dialogue is way out of crisis

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza (L) and Foreign Relations Deputy Minister for North America Carlos Ron during a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela, 28 January 2019. EFE-EPA/ Miguel Gutierrez

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza (L) and Foreign Relations Deputy Minister for North America Carlos Ron during a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela, 28 January 2019. EFE-EPA/ Miguel Gutierrez

EFE

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza insisted on Monday that dialogue between the elected government and the opposition is the way out of the country’s political crisis, including talks with the United States, with which President Nicolas Maduro broke relations last week.

At a Caracas press conference, Arreaza hailed the fact that the governments of Mexico and Uruguay - he said - are working at the United Nations to open up mechanisms to foster understanding given the removal of recognition of the Maduro regime by numerous regional and other governments around the world.

He said that this is the road to follow amid the political tension in Venezuela, above all after the head of the National Assembly, or Parliament, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself interim president and received the recognition of a number of countries, including the US.

Arreaza said that despite the fact that Washington no longer recognizes Maduro as president, the embassies of both countries in each other’s capitals have maintained communications after the Venezuelan president last week ordered all US diplomats to leave the country and all Venezuelan officials living in the US to return home.

“There are no longer any Venezuelan diplomatic personnel in the US. They’ve all returned,” said the foreign minister, in contrast to the versions being reported on local media, which say that at least three Venezuelan officials decided to remain in the US and recognize Guaido as president.

He said that this year 42 diplomatic notes have been received from the US, meaning that “the most basic communication between the two governments is mutually recognized,” going on to criticize the “erratic” acts of Washington by declaring that it will not recognize Maduro’s government.

The two nations, Arreaza said, will maintain an “interests office” for at least a month to attend to “minimal immigration duties” as well as economic affairs.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday announced that he had accepted Carlos Vecchio as Venezuela’s new charge d’affaires in Washington after Guaido appointed him.

Earlier this month, Maduro was sworn for his second six-year term after winning reelection in a vote declared to be fraudulent by numerous countries and in which his main opponents were not allowed to participate after their candidacies were invalidated.


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