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"Contributing to a political, peaceful and democratic solution is the best and the only possible outcome if we want to avoid more suffering in Venezuela", the EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini said at the inaugural meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela. The Group aims to forge a common international approach to support a peaceful, political, democratic and Venezuelan owned resolution to the crisis in the country.
“In the EU, we have been exploring the idea of a contact group for a few months. In view of the latest developments, the European Union and its Member States decided to accelerate the process because it is necessary to react and to try to open new political spaces”, Mogherini said.
The meeting, hosted by President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez, was attended by the EU, and representatives of Germany, Bolivia, Costa Rica, France, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Sweden.
“It is clear that the solution must come from the people of Venezuela”, Mogherini stressed while noting the importance of an international initiative for accompanying a peaceful and democratic solution to the current crisis through free, transparent and credible presidential elections.
Conscious of the severity of the current crisis in Venezuela and its impact in the region and deeply concerned by the plight of its people, the International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela held its first meeting in Montevideo on 7 February 2019.
The ICG aims to forge a common international approach to support a peaceful, political, democratic and Venezuelan owned resolution to the crisis, excluding the use of force, through free, transparent and credible presidential elections, in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution.
In order for the country to overcome the current crisis, it is crucial to restore full democracy in all its dimensions, including rule of law, separation of powers and respect for the constitutional mandate of the country’s institutions, notably the democratically elected National Assembly.
The ICG stresses that the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all Venezuelans must be respected. It deplores the deaths and injuries caused by excessive use of force and underlines that violence is never a solution.
In its first meeting, the Group took stock of the situation in the country and discussed how the Group could best help in finding a peaceful path towards the holding of new Presidential elections with all the necessary conditions and guarantees in conformity with the Constitution, as laid out in the terms of reference of the ICG.
The ICG also recognized the humanitarian crisis that is deepening by the day, affecting millions of Venezuelans. The Group expressed its commitment to mobilize further assistance in areas of need and coordinate its delivery in liaison with the Joint UNHCR/IOM Special Representative, Mr. Eduardo Stein.
To that end, the ICG, through the co-chairs of the meeting, will proceed with the necessary contacts with relevant Venezuelan actors as well as with regional and international partners with the aim to: i) establish the necessary guarantees for a credible electoral process, within the earliest timeframe possible; ii) enable the urgent delivery of assistance in accordance with international humanitarian principles.
To implement these 2 goals, the ICG will send a technical mission to the country.
The ICG will reconvene at ministerial level by the beginning of March to take stock of progress.
This statement has been agreed by the following ICG members: the EU, eight of its Member States (France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and three countries from Latin America (Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay).