Thursday, January 24, 2019

Putin: Foreign Interference In Venezuela's Internal Affairs Gross Violation Of International Law

"Pawns In Someone Else's Dirty Game": Russia's Lavrov Slams US Interference In Venezuela

updateCommenting on Washington’s claim that Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido is the legitimate president,  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called out what Moscow sees as rank hypocrisy, saying:
The US, which is paranoid about somebody interfering in their elections, even though they have no proof of that, themselves are trying to rule the fates of other peoples. What they actually do is interfere in their internal affairs. There is no need for [US special counsel Robert] Mueller to determine that.
He further noted that the speed of events and unrest inside Venezuela suggests foreign powers are ultimately pulling the strings, calling attempts to foster a coup "someone else's dirty game". He said:
We hope the Venezuelan opposition prioritize national interests and call on them not to be pawns in someone else’s dirty game. 
In separate statements Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev questioned of the "quasi-coup" in oil-rich but cash poor and inflation gutted Venezuela: “How would the American people feel if, say, the Speaker of the House declared herself president as a result of the shutdown?”
While countries like China, Turkey, and Syria have declared intentions to stick by Maduro, little has as yet be heard in terms of a consistent position from EU countries, which given their current silence will likely toe the US line.
But already, UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has made a statement saying it's "clear" that Maduro is "not the legitimate leader of Venezuela".

Russia has dismissed the political crisis engulfing Venezuela as an attempted coup while expressing concern over the role of external states and the potential for foreign military intervention, calling Juan Guaido's move to declare himself president illegal.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, “We are very concerned by statements that don’t rule out some kind of external intervention,” as cited by Bloomberg“We consider such intervention unacceptable,” Peskov added while describing the internal unrest spilling into the streets after the catalyst of Monday's failed military revolt of 27 officers in an opposition neighborhood of Caracas an “attempt to usurp power”.

This follows President Trump's declaration that the US would only recognize the unelected head of the opposition-held National Assembly as "the President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as the Interim President of Venezuela." A senior Trump administration official followed by saying “all options are on the table”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said further in website statement that Washington's joining a growing list of about a dozen other countries to recognize Guaido “is aimed at deepening the split in Venezuelan society, increasing the conflict on the streets, sharply destabilizing the internal political system and further escalation of the conflict.” And in words eerily similar to the brief international exchange of words over prior US action in places like Libya and Syria the ministry said that external armed intervention would be “fraught with catastrophic consequences.”

The foreign ministry further described that the situation “has reached a dangerous point” and called on the international community to engage in diplomacy and mediation between the Maduro government and opposition.

And separately, a senior Russian official on Thursday warned the Trump administration against what he called the "catastrophic scenario" of military intervention in the region. "We warn against this," Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said in an interview with International Affairs magazine, as cited in USA Today. "We believe that this would be a catastrophic scenario that would shake the foundations of the development model we see in the Latin American region."

Russia’s president pledged his support for the elected government of Venezuela during a phone call with President Nicolas Maduro. He also criticized the “destructive external meddling” to which the country has been exposed.
The Russian president has expressed his support to the legitimate authorities of Venezuela in this time of political crisis which he said was caused by a “destructive external interference that grossly violates the most basic norms of the international law.”
Putin and Maduro also agreed to continue cooperation between the countries “in various fields.” 
While Venezuela's political crisis has been ongoing for months, it has deepened this year following the US’ decision not to recognize the results of the last elections which led to Maduro entering his second six-year term.
On Wednesday US-backed, Juan Guaido, the opposition leader who is currently the President of the National Assembly, swore an oath and declared himself interim president as thousands took to the streets calling for Maduro to leave office.
US President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Guaido as the “interim president,” minutes after the latter swore himself in. While US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Maduro to step down and called on the country’s military to support efforts to restore “democracy”.
Elsewhere in the Americas, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Peru all followed suit within two hours of the US move. They were backed by the Organization of American States (OAS), as well as Canada.
France and Britain joined the chorus on Thursday. London claimed that Maduro is “not a legitimate leader” of Venezuela while Paris said that Maduro’s election was “illegal” and “Europe supports the restoration of democracy.”

Venezuela has endured a prolonged period of economic instability and hyperinflation, worsened by the gradually mounting external pressure. Maduro’s opponents blame the crisis on the socialist government, which, for its part, claims that the dissent is deliberately stirred up by the US and other foreign powers.
The US has greatly expanded its economic sanctions against the oil-rich country, proclaiming “support” towards Venezuelan people at the same time. Said sanctions, however, have mainly hit the country’s citizens, many analysts argue.

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