EU mulling ‘range of ac­tions’ on Venezuela

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Brus­sels, Bel­gium - The Eu­ro­pean Union is dis­cussing a ‘whole range of ac­tions’ against Venezuela over its po­lit­i­cal cri­sis but is likely to stop short of sanc­tions, of­fi­cials and sources said on Wed­nes­day.

Spain and the head of the Eu­ro­pean Par­lia­ment have both pressed for sanc­tions fol­low­ing a con­tro­ver­sial elec­tion that crit­ics say is a bid by Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro to stay in power, and the ar­rest of two op­po­si­tion lead­ers.

The United States ear­lier this week hit Maduro with sanc­tions, and di­plo­mats from the 28 EU na­tions were meet­ing with EU diplo­matic chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini in Brus­sels to dis­cuss the bloc’s course of ac­tion.

“Con­sul­ta­tions with mem­ber states are on­go­ing to en­sure an ap­pro­pri­ate and co­or­di­nated re­sponse by the EU. Ob­vi­ously the whole range of ac­tions are dis­cussed,” said Cather­ine Ray, Mogherini's spokes­woman, when asked if sanc­tions were on the ta­ble.

“But our pri­or­ity is the ur­gent re­lief of the Venezue­lan peo­ple and de-es­ca­la­tion of the ten­sions. We pro­mote a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the cri­sis and we are ready to fur­ther sup­port on­go­ing re­gional me­di­a­tion ef­forts,” Ray told a daily brief­ing.

There was op­po­si­tion from some EU states to any kind of sanc­tions, which would scup­per them as sanc­tions must be ap­proved unan­i­mously, diplo­matic sources said.

The 28 EU coun­tries are now work­ing on a com­mon dec­la­ra­tion that is ex­pected to be pub­lished later.

“The dec­la­ra­tion is sup­posed to men­tion ‘other mea­sures’. But no talk so far on sanc­tions,” a Eu­ro­pean source told AFP on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Con­sul­ta­tions with mem­ber states are on­go­ing to en­sure an ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse by the EU

Cather­ine Ray

(AFP)

Omar Esta­cio, lawyer for An­to­nio Ledezma, talks to the press out­side the Supreme Court build­ing, in Cara­cas on Tues­day

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