8476th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Venezuela

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28-Feb-2019 01:14:08
Competing United States, Russian Federation draft resolutions on political, humanitarian situation in Venezuela blocked in Security Council at 8476th meeting.

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The Security Council failed today to adopt two competing draft resolutions — one from the Russian Federation, the other from the United States — responding to the political and humanitarian situation in Venezuela.

By the terms of the draft put forward by the United States, which was vetoed by China and the Russian Federation, the Council would have expressed its deep concern that the presidential elections of 20 May 2018 were neither free nor fair, and call for the start of a peaceful political process leading to free, fair, and credible presidential elections, with international electoral observation, in conformity with Venezuela’s Constitution.

It would have supported the peaceful restoration of democracy and rule of law in Venezuela and encouraged subsequent peaceful, inclusive, and credible initiatives to address the crisis. It would also have stressed the importance of ensuring the security of all members of the National Assembly, and members of the political opposition, as well as the need to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and to facilitate unhindered access and delivery of assistance to all in need throughout the country in line with humanitarian principles.

The draft resolution from the Russian Federation, which lacked the minimum number of affirmative votes for passage, would have had the Council urge the settlement of the situation in Venezuela through peaceful means, within the framework of its Constitution, and in full respect of its sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right to self-determination of the Venezuelan people, as well as welcome the Secretary-General’s calls in that regard.

It would have supported all initiatives aimed at reaching a political solution amongst Venezuelans to the situation, including the Montevideo Mechanism, through a genuine and inclusive process of national dialogue; reaffirm the Government’s primary role in the initiation, organization, coordination and implementation of international assistance efforts and initiatives within its national territory; and recall that such assistance should be provided with the consent of, and on the basis of an appeal by, the Government.

Speaking after the vote on his delegation’s text, Elliot Abrams, Special Representative for Venezuela of the United States, said the situation in Venezuela requires immediate Council action. “The time for a peaceful transition to democracy is now,” he said. Asserting that some Council members are choosing to shield President Nicolás Maduro and his cronies, he said the United States will remain steadfast in its support for interim President Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly.

The representative of the Russian Federation, who took the floor twice, said his delegation was forced to exercise its veto because the United States draft was not geared towards resolving the problem in Venezuela. Emphasizing that his delegation’s text was aimed at helping Venezuelans solve their own problems, he said a decision to hold elections or not is theirs alone to take. “Do not decide for them,” he said, adding that today’s vote was a glaring example of the need for the veto in the Council.

Expressing regret over the lack of Council unity, Peru’s representative said the failure to adopt the United States draft — for which his delegation voted in favour — is incomprehensible, given that it was a minimal text with no references to human rights violations, the terrible humanitarian situation, the breakdown of the economic order and the exodus of more than 3 million Venezuelans.

South Africa’s delegate, who voted in favour of the Russian Federation’s text and against its United States counterpart, said it was unfortunate that two divergent drafts were submitted. Division in the Council undermined its credibility, he said, describing the United States draft as unbalanced and prescriptive.

The representative of Indonesia said his delegation refused to accept either draft resolution because they were both incomplete and overly politicized — nor, he added, would they help Venezuelans. “In all honesty, I have to admit that my delegation is starting to believe that dialogue and negotiations are a luxury here in the Council,” he said.

Venezuela’s representative, speaking at the end of the meeting, said his country rejects the fact that its Constitution is being used to justify a colonial intervention and to support a fictious entity. Economic war is being waged against Venezuela, violating the rights of its people and turning them into hostages, he said, adding that in the past two weeks, the United States and the United Kingdom had stolen more than $30 billion from the Venezuelan people.

Calling for the principles of the United Nations Charter to be defended, he said his country wants respect for national sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and non-intervention in domestic affairs, as well as its people’s right to self-determination and equality. “Most of all,” he added, “we are asking the Council for our right to peace.”

Also speaking today were representatives of China, Belgium, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Germany and Poland.

The meeting began at 3:08 p.m. and ended at 4:21 p.m.

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