Cara­cas de­nounces Trump’s cri­sis talks

Manila Times - - WORLD REPORT - AFP

WASH­ING­TON, D.C.: Cara­cas on Fri­day (Satur­day in Manila) de­nounced Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s plans to meet with Latin Amer­i­can lead­ers con­cern­ing Venezuela’s on­go­ing cri­sis, brand­ing the talks as “ri­val di­a­logue.”

Ear­lier in the day Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser H.R. McMaster had an­nounced plans for a “work­ing din­ner” on Mon­day that will con­vene sev­eral Latin Amer­i­can lead­ers in New York, as the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly gets un­der­way.

Dur­ing the din­ner Trump ex­pects to “dis­cuss the cri­sis in Venezuela, as well as the strong eco­nomic ties and ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess of like- minded Latin Amer­i­can na­tions in re­cent decades,” McMaster told jour­nal­ists, with­out elab­o­rat­ing on which lead­ers the talks will in­clude.

But hav­ing just be­gun ex­ploratory talks with op­po­si­tion del­e­gates this week, Cara­cas met the news with scorn.

“You have noth­ing to eval­u­ate Pres­i­dent Trump. . .eval­u­ate your in­ter­nal prob­lems,” For­eign Min­is­ter Jorge Ar­reaza told jour­nal­ists, lam­bast­ing the planned meet­ing as “ri­val di­a­logue.”

Of­fi­cials from both the Venezue­lan gov­ern­ment and the op­po­si­tion be­gan ex­ploratory talks Wed­nes­day, me­di­ated by Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic Pres­i­dent Danilo Me­d­ina and Jose Luis Rodriguez Za­p­a­tero, the for­mer Span­ish prime min­is­ter.

The op­pos­ing sides agreed Thurs­day to a com­mis­sion of “friendly coun­tries”— Mex­ico, Chile, Bo­livia and Nicaragua— tasked with as­sist­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions to emerge from the cri­sis that had fu­eled months of deadly protests.

Ar­reaza also ap­peared to re­spond to Trump’s threat last month of a “mil­i­tary op­tion” in Venezuela.

“Any­one who dares to at­tack Venezuela will suf­fer the con­se­quences,” he said.

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