Americas, Europe

Russia accuses US, UK of destabilizing Venezuela

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says UK preparing saboteurs against Venezuela at military base

Elena Teslova   | 15.08.2019
Russia accuses US, UK of destabilizing Venezuela

MOSCOW 

The situation in Venezuela remains tense due to U.S. pressure on the country, Russia said on Thursday.

Washington ignored Moscow's calls to lift sanctions on sectors relevant to Venezuelans' social well-being, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists in Orenburg, adding that Russia aimed to improve the humanitarian situation in the country.

Zakharova also accused the U.K. of preparing several dozen saboteurs at a base in neighboring Guyana for the "further destabilization of the situation" in Venezuela.

"They [the U.K.] are finishing the construction of a military base on one of the islands in the mouth of the river Essequibo [in neighboring Guyana], under the pretext of suppression of the smuggling of weapons and drugs," she said.

Zakharova added that a campaign to discredit Venezuela was being pursued, with the purpose to portray the country as a major drug threat in the region.

She stressed that accusations against Venezuela were not valid as they contradicted UN and U.S. State Department reports, in which other countries are identified as "dominant drug suppliers in the Western Hemisphere."

Venezuela has been rocked by political unrest, beginning on Jan. 10, when President Nicholas Maduro was sworn in for a second term. Tension escalated on Jan. 23 when parliament member Juan Guaido declared himself interim president.

Russia, China and Iran have thrown their weight behind Maduro, as has Turkey.

Spain, Britain, France, Sweden, Germany, Japan and Denmark joined the U.S., Canada in recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader.


- Syrian settlement

Moscow is optimistic on the launch of a Syrian constitutional committee, Zakharova said.

"We believe that all conditions are currently present for the convening of the constitutional committee," she underlined, adding that Russia would continue to assist Geir Pedersen, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria, in completing the formation of the committee.

Zakharova noted that efforts were ongoing to shut down the Al-Rukban refugee camp in southern Syria, adding that this could be achieved by the end of August.

The situation in the other "problematic" refugee camp, Al Hol, did not "demonstrate any positive dynamics", she said.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.

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