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  • U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) in Sochi, Russia, May 14, 2019.

    U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) in Sochi, Russia, May 14, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 14 May 2019

Russia supports a Venezuelan people determining their own future via political dialogue within the Montevideo Mechanism framework.

The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Tuesday in Sochi, Russia to discuss current events surrounding Venezuela, North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iran.

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"We see that there are suspicions and prejudices," Lavrov said of the U.S. administration at the start of the meeting, adding that "this hinders both your security and our security and causes concerns around the world," he said to Pompeo. "We think it is time to build a new and more constructive matrix for our relations," added the Russian minister.

Pompeo said the United States is willing to improve its bilateral relations with Russia as long as both countries treat "the outstanding issues seriously."

President Donald Trump "is committed to improving this relationship. We have differences and each country will protect its own interests," Pompeo said, "but we are not destined to be adversaries on all issues and I hope we can find areas where we have a set of overlapping interests."

Despite these diplomatic gestures, the U.S. did not change its main foreign policy positions. Regarding North Korea, for instance, the secretary reiterated that sanctions will remain in force "until a complete denuclearization" of the peninsula is achieved.

Pompeo said during their conversation that Washington does not recognize what it calls "Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula," and the D.C. representative urged Russia to make peace with Ukraine.

At the Sochi meeting, the U.S. secretary encourged the Russian administration to help oust democratically elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

"The time has come for Maduro to leave power. ... We want Venezuelans to have the right to democracy. ... Chinese, Cuban or other forces have to stop supporting Maduro," Pompeo said.

On this regard, Lavrov asserted that his country's stance on the Venezuelan domestic political impasse is based on the premise that "democracy is not established by force (but by) ​dialogue and consideration of all issues by Venezuelans themselves, without ultimatums and without preconditions."

The Russian diplomat said, "threats against Maduro's administration, which are heard from U.S. officials and [the opposition politician Juan] Guaido, who constantly reminds us of his right to invite an armed intervention from abroad, have nothing in common with democracy."​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Russian high officer also said that he would not go into details about "how things are with democracy in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere, where those attempts to overthrow took place and did not lead to anything good."​​​​​​​

Lavrov said the Venezuelan domestic issues should be resolved using the Montevideo Mechanism dialogues proposed previously by Mexico and Uruguay.

"Russia is in favor of the [Venezuelan] people determining their own future and, in that sense, it is of the utmost importance that all the country's political forces initiate a dialogue among them, as several countries of the region have also requested within the Montevideo Mechanism framework. The Venezuela's government, as [President] Maduro has assured, is also willing to take part in such dialogue."


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