US slams Venezuela at UN meet­ing boy­cotted by Rus­sia, China

Manila Times - - WORLD - AFP

US Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley on Mon­day (Tues­day in Manila) slammed Venezuela as an “in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent narco-state” that poses a threat to world se­cu­rity at a UN meet­ing boy­cotted by Rus­sia and China.

Ha­ley said the in­for­mal Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing was to draw in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion to the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic cri­sis in Venezuela, which is tee­ter­ing on the brink of de­fault.

But key Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers Rus­sia and China re­fused to at­tend as did Bo­livia, a non­per­ma­nent coun­cil mem­ber close to Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro’s gov­ern­ment, and Egypt.

Ad­dress­ing the meet­ing, Ha­ley said “the sit­u­a­tion in Venezuela is more than a hu­man tragedy,” adding that the cri­sis “poses a di­rect threat to in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity.”

“Venezuela is an in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent narco-state that threat­ens the re­gion, the hemi­sphere and the world,” she said.

Ad­dress­ing re­porters out­side of the meet­ing hall, the am­bas­sadors of Rus­sia, China and Bo­livia joined Venezuela’s UN en­voy, who de­clared the meet­ing “il­le­gal” and a vi­o­la­tion of the UN char­ter.

“This is a hos­tile act by the United States and clearly an act of in­ter­fer­ence,” said Venezuela’s Am­bas­sador Rafael Ramirez.

Rus­sian Am­bas­sador Vass­ily Neben­zia said the US- led talks amounted to “med­dling in the do­mes­tic af­fairs of Venezuela” and de­clared that the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil should not be­come in­volved.

The re­fusal by Rus­sia and China to at­tend the meet­ing meant that the United States would face strong op­po­si­tion in push­ing for coun­cil ac­tion to ad­dress the cri­sis in Venezuela.

Venezuela has been in tur­moil since anti-gov­ern­ment protests in April left more than 100 dead as the coun­try reels from short­ages of food and medicine.

On Mon­day, the Cara­cas gov­ern­ment was meet­ing with cred­its in a bid to stave off a de­fault from $150 bil­lion in debt.

Over 600,000 Venezue­lans have moved across bor­ders in the re­gion this year alone, cit­ing fears of crime, re­pres­sion and food in­se­cu­rity, UN High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein told the meet­ing.

“If no steps are taken to con­front the se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in Venezuela, I am very much con­cerned about the neg­a­tive desta­bi­liz­ing ef­fect it could have on the re­gion as a whole,” he said.

Ha­ley said the fact that Venezu mem­bers not to at­tend the meet­ing was “proof” of “guilt.”

UNITED NA­TIONS, United States:

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