Greece has called for “political dialogue” to end the crisis in Venezuela where opposition leader Juan Guaido has declared himself the country’s president after mass protests against Nicolas Maduro.
In a statement Tuesday, Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos declared Greece’s support for democracy and called for “the restoration of social peace,” also with the help of EU mediation.
“We do not want Venezuela to become yet another Libya in South America,” Katrougalos said.
“We want it to enjoy democracy and prosperity, and for its people to be united and indeed able to exercise their democratic rights within a republic that is exclusively for their own benefit,” he said.
On Wednesday Maduro said he was ready to sit down for talks with the country’s opposition and open to the possibility of third countries mediating.
On Monday Guaido reportedly called on the Greek government to side with the EU in pressuring Maduro to hold free and fair elections. Guaido reportedly told Skai he was concerned about Greece’s hesitation to condemn Maduro and invited Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to visit the country to witness first hand the state of its economy.
Below is the full statement by the Greek Foreign Ministry:
Greece stands in solidarity with the people of Venezuela, it supports democracy, and endeavors to the restoration of social peace in a very polarized society, in a very polarized political system. And our long-standing belief is that the sole method whereby these differences can be overcome is through political dialogue.
From the first moment, we sought, a united European Union, to play a similar role, promoting the idea of a group of countries, including those countries of the European Union which for historical reasons have an influence over the region, to undertake this mediating role. Initiatives by other countries such as Uruguay and Mexico are focused along the same lines. Moreover, Pope Francis’s recent intervention was in the same vein.
We consider it a key issue for the EU to, first of all, hold a unified position; secondly, for us not to drag ourselves behind the initiatives of other great Powers; thirdly, for complete respect of Democracy to exist; for the involvement of the army not to be permitted to be a factor which will shape developments, as certain sides of the opposition powers seem to be requesting.
I conveyed these positions, also expressing my support for her efforts to date, to the High Representative of the European Union, Federica Mogherini. We shall also endeavor for the same positions to prevail on Thursday and Friday at the informal Council of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs, precisely because we wish for the EU to be a leading proponent for peace, and for it not to be a factor that will worsen or fail to solve problems, as we have unfortunately seen occurring numerous times in other countries around the world.
We do not want Venezuela to become yet another Libya in South America. We want it to enjoy democracy and prosperity, and for its people to be united and indeed able to exercise their democratic rights within a republic that is exclusively for their own benefit.