Venezuela backs off plan to expel EU envoy | News | DW | 03.07.2020
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Venezuela backs off plan to expel EU envoy

Caracas has reversed its decision to expel the EU's ambassador to Venezuela over recent sanctions from the bloc. But the Latin American country wants action from Brussels in return.

Venezuela on Thursday canceled an earlier decision to expel an EU envoy in response to recent sanctions imposed by the bloc. But Venezuela's foreign minister said Caracas expected concessions from Brussels in return.

Venezuela was choosing to make "a gesture" in order "not to hinder dialogue with the European Union," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said, speaking with satellite channel Telesur.

"We hope, therefore, that there will also be gestures from Europe to have a much more objective position on the events in our country," Arreaza added. He has previously accused the EU of kowtowing to Washington's strict stance on Venezuela.

Earlier on Thursday, a joint statement with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the Venezuelan government had "decided to nullify the decision" to expel the bloc's envoy. 

Maduro awaits a 'gesture'

Venezuela's president, Nicolas Maduro, on Monday had given EU special envoy Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa 72 hours to leave the country. The move was in response to the bloc imposing sanctions against 11 politicians loyal to the socialist president.

Read more: The human cost of the US sanctions on Venezuela

Maduro said he had reversed his decision to expel Pedrosa following a "tense" conversation between Arreaza and Borrell and that he recognized that it would take time for the EU to change its policies.

"There are discussions and debates that must be opened in the European Union, but Venezuela hopes that there will be some kind of gesture to accompany the one we have made."

Borrell had condemned the decision to expel the EU ambassador, saying there would be repercussions and that the bloc would summon Venezuela's envoy as well.

Condemnation from Guaido

Leader of Venezuela's opposition-controlled parliament Juan Guaido on Tuesday slammed the decision to expel the EU envoy. 

The politicians hit with sanctions include opposition legislator Luis Parra, who is challenging Guaido for the leadership of the National Assembly with Maduro's backing. 

The US expressed support for the EU sanctions against "the illegitimate Maduro regime," with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that expelling Pedrosa would have further isolated Venezuela. 

kp/sms (AFP,Reuters)

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