MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. The Venezuelan people should improve the situation in their country without having to deal with foreign instructions and pressure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a joint press conference following talks with Venezuelan Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on Friday.
"Russia calls for resolving Venezuela’s domestic issues peacefully," Lavrov pointed out. "Clearly, the Venezuelan people should take steps to improve the situation without foreign instructions and foreign pressure, let alone ultimatums," he added.
The Russian foreign minister pointed out that "illegitimate sanctions the US unilaterally imposed on the leading sectors of Venezuela’s economy, as well as its move to freeze Venezuela’s assets abroad, primarily in the US and Great Britain," were the main reason behind the deteriorating social and economic situation in Venezuela.
"We expressed solidarity with the friendly people of this country and support for the Maduro government’s efforts to prevent the situation from deteriorating further. We also confirmed readiness to join efforts by regional and international mediators who call for launching inclusive national dialogue. We will be ready to participate in these activities if Venezuela’s major political forces give their consent," Lavrov emphasized.
He was regretful that unlike the Venezuelan authorities, "the opposition has been continuously rejecting dialogue, following instructions from Washington."
Crisis in Venezuela
On January 23, 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.
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.
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Syria 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.
On February 4, most of the European Union member states recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.