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PM pleased with plans for negotiations to end Venezuela crisis

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley Monday welcomed plans by the Venezuela government and opposition to hold talks in Barbados later this week aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the economic and political situation in the South American country, saying also that it supports the efforts by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for dialogue to end the crisis.

“I think the public will recall that since January, the government of Barbados along with other CARICOM governments have made it clear that the time for dialogue is never over. As a zone of peace, we will want to see a very peaceful resolution to the problems in Venezuela,” Mottley told reporters.

Norway has confirmed that Venezuela government and opposition representatives will meet here this week as part of the ongoing efforts to find a solution to the economic and political crisis in the South American country.

Norway’s Foreign Ministry, which is acting as a mediator, issued a statement on Sunday confirming that talks will start “this week” in Barbados. The Ministry gave no specific date for the start of the third round of talks between the parties.

It a statement, it said that the parties will now meet to continue work on finding a negotiated and constitutional solution, as “quickly as possible”.

“Norway reiterates its recognition of the parties for their efforts and willingness to cooperate,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said.

Opposition Leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself interim president, is seeking the removal of President Nicolas Maduro from office. Guaido is backed by the United States and several other western countries, while Russia, china, and Cuba are among countries backing Maduro, who was sworn into office for a second consecutive term earlier this year.

Mottley told reporters that she was heartened that both sides have agreed to sit at the negotiating table for talks to be mediated by Norway.

“We are aware of the humanitarian crisis and we are equally aware that you can’t have the type of intervention that is in breach of the charter of the United Nations or the charter of the Organisation of American States (OAS). So, to that extent we are happy to be able to facilitate those discussions, which are being facilitated by the government of Norway.

Norway has joined in the efforts for a peaceful resolution to the crisis that has resulted in thousands of Venezuelans feeling the homeland in the past few months.

Trinidad and Tobago recently ended a registration process providing at least a one year amnesty for the Venezuelans to live and work in the oil-rich twin island republic.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders who have in the past adopted a position of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of the South American country, last week re-affirmed that position during their annual summit held in St. Lucia.

The communique issued after the summit noted that the regional leaders had received an update on the situation in Venezuela and CARICOM’s mediation-related activities, carried out by their High-Level Representatives.

“They reiterated the importance of resolving the crisis peacefully through dialogue between the parties,” and “agreed that mediation-related activities would be continued to be pursued by the Prime Ministers (St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago) “ who were designated as the Caribbean’s main negotiators.

The regional leaders, who met with Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg, also “expressed support for the facilitation process being carried out by Norway with both sides of the dispute”.

Mottley made it clear that apart from hosting the meeting, Barbados will be playing no major role in the discussions.

“Barbados has had a reputation as a country, whose foreign policy has been consistent, that we are friends of all and satellites of none. We stay above the fray and we seek to bring about peace wherever we can.

“This is a matter that requires the utmost patience, so it is not something that you should be asking me or anybody about on a daily basis, let the people talk. When you have deep divisions it takes time and I have every confidence in the government of Norway being able to do what CARICOM has wanted done since January,” she said.


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