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The EU hopes to launch a contact group on Venezuela in February



The European Union (EU) hopes to launch in February the international contact group that is pushing for a negotiated solution to the political crisis in Venezuela, announced Monday the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini.

"The work on the contact group continues and we hope to establish it in the coming weeks," Mogherini said at the end of a meeting of European chancellors in Brussels, where they quickly addressed the situation in the country.

Although they do not recognize the elections that have led Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to assume another mandate, Europeans are reluctant to break off relations and promote this group since October that does not seek to mediate, but to facilitate a dialogue between government and opposition.

Over the weekend, the European ambassadors who met the Venezuelan leader in Caracas told him about the creation of this contact group. "Maduro did not speak openly," Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Monday.

His Portuguese counterpart, Augusto Santos Silva, underlined the importance of a "revival of the political process of dialogue" in the country, since, without a political solution, in his opinion, "the serious economic and social crisis that Venezuela lives can not be overcome ".

The group would be formed from European countries and from outside the block. Waiting to see its final composition, among the countries of the EU that seem to be inside there are Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, according to European diplomatic sources.

From the Latin American side, Mexico, Uruguay and Ecuador would be open to participate. Others such as the United States, the UN, the Holy See or Russia have expressed their willingness to follow closely the work of the group, but without participating, according to one of these sources.

"It remains to tie the final participation of some and others," said Borrell, for whom the launch of the international contact group could take place during the next ordinary meeting of foreign ministers, on 18 February in Brussels.

The Europeans rejected that these diplomatic movements imply a change in their position on the situation of democracy and human rights in Venezuela, which imposed an arms embargo and sanctioned 18 officials.

Borrell defended the decision to act in the crisis of the Latin American country for the presence of "one million Europeans". "If they tell me that Europe ignores the Venezuelan crisis, it would be a disappointment," he added at a press conference.


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