Caracas, April 26, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com)—The Venezuelan far-right opposition and the Venezuelan government made statements this Tuesday, April 25, regarding the International Conference on the Political Process in Venezuela that was organized by Colombian President Gustavo Petro in Bogotá, with the participation of delegations from 20 countries.
The summits had the participation of high profile attendees, including: the president of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves; the foreign ministers of Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, Santiago Cafiero, Alberto van Klaveren, and Rogelio Mayta, respectively; the special advisor on foreign affairs to the Brazilian president, Celso Amorim; and the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell.
President Petro Opens International Conference on Venezuela, Participants Agree to Fast-Track Release of Frozen Funds
At the end of the conference, Colombian Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva read a statement that held the common agreements of the participants involved. The most important agreements included:
- The necessity of defining an electoral schedule that allows free and transparent elections, with guarantees for all Venezuelans. On this issue, there was agreement on taking into consideration the recommendations of the European Union electoral observation mission prepared after the 2021 Venezuelan Parliamentary Election.
- The need for the steps taken by both parties within the México Talks to move in parallel with the lifting of illegal US and European sanctions.
- The resumption of the México Talks should be accompanied by the fast-track release of the funds for the Fiduciary Fund for Social Investment for Venezuela, in fulfillment of what was agreed on November 26, 2022.
The Venezuelan government issued an official statement noting its position on the conference after the end of the summit on Tuesday, April 25, posted via social media by the Venezuelan minister for foreign affairs, Yván Gil. In the communiqué, Venezuelan authorities reiterated the final goal of all illegal sanctions against Venezuela to be lifted, but also made clear that the resumption of the México Talks demands full compliance with the agreements already reached to unfreeze $3.2 billion for the creation of the Social Fund, in order to finance health, education, public services, and risk mitigation, as well as the immediate release of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, kidnapped by the US.
#COMUNICADO El Gobierno de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela toma nota de las deliberaciones realizadas durante la Conferencia Internacional sobre el Proceso Político en Venezuela, realizada hoy en Bogotá y convocada por el Gobierno de Colombia. pic.twitter.com/mpRwYsSRX0
— Yvan Gil (@yvangil) April 25, 2023
Below, you can read the unofficial translation of the Venezuelan statement:
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela takes note of the deliberations carried out during the International Conference on the Political Process in Venezuela, held on April 25, 2023 in the city of Bogotá, with the participation of delegations from different countries convened by the Government of the Republic of Colombia.
Venezuela reiterates the prevailing need to lift each and every one of the unilateral, illegal and harmful coercive measures contravening international law that constitute an aggression against the entire Venezuelan population and that hinder the development of the economic and social life of the country. In this sense, it demands the return of the assets belonging to the Venezuelan State illegally retained by foreign countries and financial institutions.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reiterates that the path to progress in the political dialogue involves full compliance with the commitment reached at the Negotiation Table in México for the creation of a Social Fund that, with the release of resources belonging to the Venezuelan people, contemplates investments in health, education, public services and risk mitigation, as well as the immediate release of Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab, unjustly detained in the United States of America.
It has been demonstrated that the development of a country, that of its people and that of its constitutional and democratic institutions, cannot be carried out under constant aggression, coercion, and threat. Venezuela believes in peace diplomacy that is built without aggression, with respect, and in conditions of equality. Only in this way can constructive relations of cooperation and mutual benefit be built among all the peoples of the world.
Caracas, April 25, 2023
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A few hours later, the Unitary Platform negotiating team published a similar statement via social media, “celebrating” the consensus for an urgent resumption of the México Talks, even though that was not part of the Bogotá summit’s declaration, as the summit emphasised that the talks should proceed on the condition of the agreements previously reached being adhered to.
The far-right delegates insisted on the necessity of advancing the release of self-termed “political prisoners,” as well as the definition of an electoral calendar ahead of the 2024 presidential elections, and the organization of “free and transparent elections” with rights guaranteed for all Venezuelans, taking into consideration the recommendations of the European Union Electoral Observation Mission from 2021.
— Delegación de la Plataforma Unitaria – Negociación (@DelegacionUVzla) April 26, 2023
The opposition representation received President Petro’s initiative and described it as a “faithful expression of his commitment to the search of a peaceful and democratic solution” to Venezuela’s political tensions. It also proposed the creation of a regional group of allies of the México Talks, to “help ensure that the agreements reached are fulfilled,” alluding to the opposition’s recognition that the US government has not released the illegally frozen Venezuelan funds demanded by Maduro’s administration.
The final declaration of the International Conference on the Political Process in Venezuela proposed the convening of a new meeting of the delegations at the earliest convenience, to follow up the agreements and decisions taken.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
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