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US sabotaging Venezuelan dialogue to push for military intervention: Envoy

Venezuelan Ambassador to the United Nations Samuel Moncada has accused the United States of pushing for military intervention in the Latin American country by undermining ongoing negotiations between Caracas and the opposition.

Moncada made the accusation during a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, a day after Venezuelan government and opposition representatives agreed to engage in permanent peace dialogue as a result of a three-day round of Norway-mediated talks in Barbados.

The ambassador said the United States was trying to impose a “violent solution” on Venezuela.

“They are trying to tell the world that they are in charge of this dialogue process, that they do not agree with the dialogue process, that the dialogue process is bound to fail and that the only solution to the situation in Venezuela is foreign military intervention,” he added.

Moncada did not offer details about the processes of dialogue between the two sides but mentioned the US and Colombia as two countries that have launched a “campaign” to impede a consensus and prevent a peaceful solution to the political crisis in Venezuela.

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“There are countries and external political actors, external powers, who want to take the war to the country. There are two countries, particularly the USA and Colombia, which have a campaign to destroy the dialogue,” he said.

Asked about the conference held in Barbados, Moncada said: “One of the ways to stop the war against my country is to identify which are the most important agents of violence in my country and I can tell you that my country is right now at peace.”

“There are no armed groups, there are no armed conflicts, there are no riots on the streets,” he went on to say. “The economic situation is difficult, but there is no war. But look at our neighbors…They are pushing their war against us. We need to keep Venezuela at peace and the only way is the dialogue and Barbados is one way to do it.”

The ambassador also referred to the letter sent by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to the high commissioner of human rights, Michelle Bachelet, in rejection of her previous report concerning allegations of human rights violation in the south American country.

The report accused Venezuelan security forces of extrajudicial executions, torture, enforced disappearances and other rights violations in recent years.

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Moncada said the government in Caracas remains committed to defending human rights in Venezuela and that it will continue to work with the office to address the issue.

Venezuela plunged into political crisis in January, when the US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido — who heads Venezuela’s now defunct National Assembly — abruptly proclaimed himself “interim president.” The elected government of Maduro rejected that self-proclamation. It has nevertheless been negotiating with Guaido’s representatives to resolve the political crisis in the country.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has levied several rounds of sanctions against Venezuela to oust Maduro and replace him with Guaido.

Washington has confiscated Venezuela’s state oil assets based in the US to channel them to Guaido.

Guaido orchestrated a failed coup against the government on April 30 with backing from Washington. Maduro’s government, however, has not proceeded to arrest Guaido despite the coup attempt.

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