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Diplomat slams London court’s ‘outrageous’ ruling to give Guaido access to Venezuelan gold

The London court did not even attempt to give a legal assessment to Guaido’s claims, but just echoed the stance of the British executive branch of power, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said

MOSCOW, July 4. /TASS/. On Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova castigated a ruling by the High Court in London - branding it outrageous - to recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s "interim president" and give him access to the country’s gold reserves stored in the Bank of England.

"We are concerned that the High Court in London ruled to recognize Juan Guaido as ‘interim president of Venezuela’ and to grant him access to the gold reserves stored in the Bank of England," the diplomat said cited by the Foreign Ministry as saying.

"The judgement ruling is outrageous. As far as can be understood from the words of High Court judge Nigel Teare, the London court did not even attempt to give a legal assessment to Guaido’s claims, but just echoed the stance of the British executive branch of power that had previously ‘unequivocally recognized’ Guaido as ‘the constitutional interim president of Venezuela’ and that ‘there cannot be two Presidents of Venezuela’," she said.

"It appears obvious that in the United Kingdom, the courts’ independence is effective as long as the judges’ position is consistent with that of the government," she added.

Zakharova pointed out that Russia would study legal arguments of the London High Court with huge interest, "but it seems that there are not any such arguments."

"British law stays mum when political expediency is at stake," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. "In violation of some principles and norms of international law, such as non-interference in internal affairs, respect for sovereignty and for the state property immunity, one state actually ended up alienating the property of another state with the aim to back up anti-constitution coup in that state."

Earlier, the High Court in London ruled to recognize Juan Guaido as the constitutional interim president of Venezuela, denying incumbent President Nicolas Maduro access to the Venezuelan gold stored in the Bank of England. The court handed down a judgment ruling in a lawsuit filed by Venezuela’s Central Bank against the Bank of England to recover control over $1 billion of its gold held in the British capital.


EU against rapprochement


According to Zakharova, certain European countries are attempting to obstruct rapprochement between the Venezuelan opposition and the government. The steps taken by some European countries against Caracas lead to an impasse, she added.

"The European Union has approved a package of sanctions against a group of the country’s politicians, including from the opposition camp, who call for a constructive dialogue with the authorities. It is important that the efforts of the foreign ministers of Venezuela and the EU helped, however, to avoid any further escalation of the diplomatic crisis," Zakharova recalled.

"Not only do the steps taken in European capitals facilitate this, they pose a risk of bringing the situation to a standstill. Their initiators admit their own defeat and a lack of ideas on the track of Venezuelan settlement. The goal remains the same of making ‘toxic’ any rapprochement between the opposition and Chavists and to prevent the conflicting sides from finding common ground," she added.


Call for humanism


Zakharova underscored that even in the dire circumstances caused by sanctions and the pandemic, the people of Venezuela were striving to find a civilized political solution.

"They will be provided with this opportunity, under the current legislation, on December 6 to elect a new parliament, and then - also within the constitutional timeframe - to reinstate the mandate of the current head of state. A wider circle of political forces demonstrates their readiness to participate in the pre-election events," she noted.

"This trend should be overwhelmingly supported, without trying to torpedo it for the benefit of destructively minded radicals, as for them, a successful election might be equal to stepping down from the stage of politics," the diplomat added.

Russia will continue to support Venezuela’s constructive political forces in their aspiration to overcome differences peacefully through nationwide dialogue, she said. Moscow calls on all responsible members of the world to prioritize the principles of goodwill and humanism, to contribute maximum so that a favorable atmosphere for national dialogue could be created in Venezuela, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman concluded.

The political situation in Venezuela aggravated after Juan Guaido, a Venezuelan opposition leader and speaker of the National Assembly, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country’s Supreme Court, had declared himself interim president at a rally in the country’s capital, Caracas, on January 23, 2019. The United States recognized him as an interim president, and the countries of the Lima Group (excluding Mexico), the Organization of American States, and most of the European Union nations followed suit. Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted the move as an attempted coup and announced cutting diplomatic ties with the United States. Russia, Belarus, Iran, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, and Turkey voiced support for Maduro.