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  • U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 February 2019

Guterres said he was following the crisis in Venezuela "with a lot of concern," adding that he had discussed the various initiatives put forward with the countries involved.

The United Nations will not join any group of nations promoting a political initiative to resolve the crisis in Venezuela, the UN chief said Monday, indicating he will not attend a meeting in Uruguay this week of several countries.

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Mexico and Uruguay had hoped that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would attend a conference in Montevideo on Thursday aimed at promoting dialogue between Venezuela's self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido and leader Nicolas Maduro.

"The UN Secretariat has decided not to be part of any of these groups in order to give credibility to our continued offer of good offices to the parties to be able at their request to help find a political solution," Guterres told reporters.

The coup plotters have won backing from the United States, some European powers including France, Germany and Spain, Canada, Australia and their conservative allies in Latin America to take over the leadership, but Russia and China continue to support Maduro.

Mexico and Uruguay have not recognized Guaido, the head of the National Assembly who declared himself acting president on January 23 in place of Maduro, elected last May.

A group of Latin American and European states is to hold its first meeting of a contact group in Montevideo on Thursday.

The contact group comprises the EU and eight of its member states — France, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden — and four Latin American countries: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay.

The UN chief met with Mexico's ambassador to the United Nations Juan Jose Gomez Camacho last week who said the Montevideo conference was to "offer a chance for dialogue to all parties involved."

On Friday, Guterres officially recognized the representation of the Venezuelan Government - led by its Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza - while rejecting the interests of deputy of the National Assembly (AN) Guaido. 23. He then also expressed his preference for “lower tensions” in Venezuela and called for all relevant parties to commit to an inclusive and credible political dialogue.

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