Antigua and Barbuda plays role in release of Venezuela opposition leader

The Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
The Hon. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda

Representatives of Antigua and Barbuda were engaged in “quiet diplomacy” with Venezuelan officials over the last few months to promote confidence-building measures such as the release from jail of Mr Leopoldo Lopez, Venezuelan opposition leader, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne said.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Prime Minister Browne welcomed the news of Mr. Lopez’ release.

“My government regards the news of Mr Lopez’s release from prison as a positive step, particularly in light of the offer of CARICOM’s Heads of Government to play a mediating role if all the parties in Venezuela wish it,” the Prime Minister said in the statement.


Please see statement below:

 

Statement by Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda on the news of the release from prison in Venezuela of Leopoldo Lopez

 JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda – 8th July, 2017 – I welcome the news of the release of Leopoldo Lopez from prison in Venezuela.

His release should be regarded as a confidence building measure between the Government and opposition political parties in Venezuela in efforts to reinvigorate a dialogue between them that leads to a Venezuelan solution to the political impasse and economic and social difficulties facing the country.

I urge all parties to seize this good faith measure to engage in the dialogue that is required in the interest of the people of their country.

I can reveal that, over the last few months, representatives of my government have engaged in quiet diplomacy with Venezuelan officials in promotion of confidence building measures, such as the release from jail of Mr Lopez.

In addition to conversations with Venezuelan representatives of the government and the opposition, our Ambassador to the Organisation of American States, Sir Ronald Sanders, also accepted a call last month from Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo Lopez.

We believe in offering a helping hand to the parties and not in interference or intervention.

My government regards the news of Mr Lopez’s release from prison as a positive step, particularly in light of the offer of CARICOM’s Heads of Government to play a mediating role if all the parties in Venezuela wish it.

CARICOM Heads of Government offer their good offices to facilitate dialogue in Venezuela

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CARICOM Heads of Government have issued a statement on the Venezuela. The statement was contained in the Communique issued at the conclusion of the Thirty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM held 4-6 July, 2017, in St. George’s, Grenada.

Please see the statement below:

CARICOM Heads of Government, meeting in Conference in Grenada on 4-6 July, 2017, discussed the serious challenges facing Venezuela and its people. They reaffirmed their guiding principles of adherence to the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy, as well as for the fundamental principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.

Concerned with the difficult political, economic and social situation in Venezuela, in particular the increase in violence and polarization between the Government and the Opposition, and its effect on the people of Venezuela, and recognising the urgent need to find a solution to the present situation, and that this had to be sought internally, CARICOM Heads of Government called for all parties to commit to engage in renewed dialogue and negotiation leading to a comprehensive political agreement with established time tables, concrete actions and guarantees to ensure its implementation for the well-being of the nation. In this regard, CARICOM Heads of Government offered their good offices to facilitate this dialogue.

CARICOM Heads of Government mandated the Chairman of Conference to communicate with the parties concerned in Venezuela about this offer.

Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) Statement on the Situation in Venezuela

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Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) gathered in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) deliberated on the changes taking place in the international environment as well as in their wider regional environment and on their implications for the coordinated foreign policy positioning of their countries.

They reiterated the importance they accord to maintenance of the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy, as well as to the fundamental principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. These values and principles were viewed as being of paramount importance when addressing international situations of concern.

The Foreign Ministers were united in their view that respect for these values and principles would prove valuable and pertinent in addressing concerns over the situation in Venezuela. Persuaded that the solution to the present situation had to be sought internally, supported by a mediated process, they were of the view that the deeply entrenched positions needed to be softened so that trust could be built on both sides in order to facilitate dialogue so that the people of Venezuela could peacefully overcome their crisis.

Foreign Ministers decried the violence taking place and deplored the resulting loss of life and property.

 

Bridgetown, Barbados

19 May 2017