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UN rejects Venezuela mediation efforts

February 5, 2019

The UN says it wants to remain neutral. Meanwhile, a regional group of Latin American countries and Canada reaffirmed their support for opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Protesters gather to hear Juan Guaido speak at a rally in the heart of Venezuelas capital, in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 2, 2019
Image: picture-alliance/D. Hook

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that the global body would not join any initiatives to resolve the political crisis in Venezuela in order to remain neutral.

Nonetheless, Guterres said he was following the crisis in Venezuela "with a lot of concern."

Mexico and Uruguay were hoping Guterres would join talks in Montevideo on Thursday to promote a dialogue between opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro. Mexico and Uruguay have not recognized Guaido's interim presidency.

Read more:Opinion: Germany's pressure on Venezuela fails to deliver 

Lima group meets

Meanwhile, the Lima Group, a working group of 14 countries in the Americas, met in Ottawa for the first time since Guaido declared himself president on January 23.

The group reaffirmed its support for Guaido and the opposition-controlled National Assembly, but rejected calls for a foreign military intervention, saying it supported a "peaceful transition." It also called on Venezuela's military to give their loyalty to the interim president.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the international community should help support Guaido by trying to block Maduro's government from foreign business transactions involving oil, gold and other assets.

EU countries endorse Guaido
Guaido has picked up a slew of endorsements from European countries after Maduro rejected calls from leading EU countries to hold presidential elections.

France, Germany, Britain, and Spain led the way on Monday, followed by Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg.

Ten EU countries have yet to announce their position. Italy reportedly blocked efforts by EU foreign ministers to agree on a joint declaration on Guaido's interim presidency.

Read more: Maduro's oil leverage drips away

Maduro asks Pope for help

Facing increasing isolation abroad, Maduro told Italy's SkyTG24 television on Monday that he had written a letter to the pope requesting his help.

"I told him that I serve Christ's cause ... and in this spirit I asked for his help, in a process of facilitating and strengthening dialogue," he said.

"I ask the pope to put in his best effort, his will, to help on the path of dialogue," he said. "I hope to receive a positive response."

jcg/amp (Reuters, AFP, EFE)

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