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  • Emily Thornberry, Labour Party

    Emily Thornberry, Labour Party's Shadow Foreign Secretary with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. | Photo: Reuters

Published 6 February 2019

Labour Party's foreign affairs policy chief said if in power, the party would pursue diplomacy that put values above commercial gain.

Britain's opposition Labour Party's foreign affairs policy chief Emily Thornberry said Wednesday, that her party is against the move by EU states to recognize Venezuela opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido as the “interim president” of Venezuela saying that diplomacy and dialogue should be the way forward instead of taking sides.

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"You begin the dialogue and that offer has been made internally and externally,” the shadow foreign minister said. “We need to give them time, and that offer has been made internally and externally. We need to ensure that happens – that is the best way to proceed, rather to suddenly say ‘that’s it, we had enough. We recognize X. We do not recognize Y anymore.’ It’s not the way to treat another country, even a country in as desperate a situation as Venezuela.”

Thornberry said if in power, the party would pursue diplomacy that put values above commercial gain but would not fear to censure socialist countries that fail to live up to their ideals.

She went on to say that she would support the idea of new elections to end the standoff between the Venezuelan government and the right-wing opposition, who is attempting to overthrow the legitimate President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro through calls for a coup and military intervention.  

The European decision earlier this week came less than two weeks after the United States and its right-wing allies in Latin America recognized Guaido as “interim president” of Venezuela on Jan. 23 in what progressive governments and activists are calling an attempted coup.

The military has repeatedly stated its full support for Maduro's government and rejected such calls as interventionist and a breach of the sovereignty of Venezuela.

In return, Maduro has repeatedly called for the restoration of talks between his government and the opposition in order to maintain peace and avoid a U.S.-backed coup, or even military intervention by the United States in favor of removing him and placing an unelected right-wing government.

The United Nations has also stressed its recognition for the government of Nicolas Maduro and refused to recognize Guaido's actions. The U.N. chief said Wednesday that his organization would be participating in the first conference of the International Contact group on Venezuela to be held Thursday in Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. The conference is expected to be attended by EU delegations, Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador and other nations who seek to promote dialgue in Venezuela.

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