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Russia and EU may hold high-level talks on Venezuela, says envoy

Moscow has daily working contacts with the European External Action Service

MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said that Moscow and Brussels may hold high-level contacts to discuss the situation in Venezuela.

"We have daily working contacts with the European External Action Service. We are discussing this issue, in particular," the permanent representative said in an interview with TASS.

"There have been no high-level contacts on this agenda, but they may also take place," he highlighted.

EU stance on the crisis

Moscow sees that the European Union member-states are split on the current developments in Venezuela, Chizhov believes.

"I would not say that the EU countries’ reaction to the events in Venezuela is identical. Actually, there have been ultimatum-like statements in some countries, namely France, Germany and Spain. At the same time, a statement of High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU differs from them," the diplomat said.

According to the envoy, this statement reflects "differences in the member-states’ positions on this issue."

The text contains a call to consider the issue on early elections, but it neither includes an ultimatum to meet the eight-day deadline nor a suggestion on a possible recognition of opposition leader as an interim president in case this ultimatum is not met, he noted.

The EU will consider "further steps," and details on this will be clarified after the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Bucharest on Thursday, Chizhov said.

Commenting on Brussels’ double standards, the Russian envoy said "one should compare the reaction to what is happening in Venezuela and the lack of this reaction to the well-known events in a number of other countries, including the EU states."

Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital of Caracas on January 23. Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him. Maduro, in turn, blasted the move as a coup staged by Washington and said he was severing diplomatic ties with the US.

Meanwhile, Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands said that they would recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president unless Maduro called elections by February 3.

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.