US attempts to interfere with Venezuela affairs unfortunate: Russia

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia
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Russia’s envoy to the United Nations (UN) has labelled as unfortunate attempts by the United States (US) to interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Speaking to a gaggle of reporters outside the Security Council, Moscow’s Ambassador described a US draft resolution as completely unbalanced.

Among others, the US text calls for the immediate start of a political process that leads to free and fair elections and unhindered humanitarian aid deliveries into the country.

Russia, that initially did not believe the Venezuela file should be debated in the Security Council, has introduced a counter draft resolution urging member states to uphold the UN Charter and refrain from actions that would further provoke tensions in the country.

Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia was asked for reaction to the US version and why Russia introduced its own text.

“I’m sure that you’ve already had a chance to acquaint yourselves with it. It is completely unbalanced. Shifts the accents upside down. We thought that it was timely and appropriate to support territorial integrity, unity, sovereignty of Venezuela; the call for the Venezuelans themselves to solve that issue peacefully with no hint at military intervention. So, if that will be the case, we will come up with it of course.”

The United States text expresses full support for the opposition-led Venezuelan National Assembly whose leader Juan Guaido declared himself Interim President in January. Tensions could come to a head later in February after Guaido declared that some of the humanitarian aid sent by the United States and blocked on the border with Colombia by Venezuela’s military, would be brought into the country on 23 February.

“I’m worried about bloodshed, but I’m more worried about inciting bloodshed because if there is no incitement on the bloodshed then we have better chances not to have bloodshed.”

President Maduro has dismissed the notion of a humanitarian emergency in his country despite dire economic conditions and acute shortages of food and medicine. For its part, the Southern African Development Community released a statement on Sunday condemning attempts by some countries to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state and trying to install the Interim President. Nebenzia agreed with the sentiment.

“What is this? This is a very unfortunate attempt to interfere into internal affairs of sovereign country which is not shared by the majority of the international community. We saw the statement of the South African development Community today that supported the legitimate government, that stood against interfering into the domestic affairs and that should be the principle. It’s not about Maduro Government as such but it is about the principle first and foremost.”

President Maduro retains support from the country’s powerful military and has accused the United States of a coup attempt in plain sight. Washington has not ruled out military action against Caracas.