THE UNLIKELY FRIENDS: Turkey condemns US embargo against Venezuela

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ANKARA – Turkey opposes Washington’s decision to take further restrictive measures on the assets of the Venezuelan authorities, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Friday.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order blocking Venezuelan government assets within US jurisdiction, including those belonging to the country’s central bank and oil company PDVSA. It also authorizes sanctions against those who support Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

“We disapprove of the US ‘Executive Order on Blocking Property of the Government of Venezuela’, providing for comprehensive sanctions on Venezuela. We are concerned that this executive order will worsen the economic hardship already faced by the Venezuelan people and negatively impact initiatives in finding a political solution in Venezuela,” Aksoy said in a statement.

The US decree was signed on August 5, during negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the opposition in Barbados, mediated by Norway.

Turkey believes that in order to find the best solution to the crisis in Venezuela, all parties must continue to contribute to the process of political dialogue, he said.

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Meanwhile, Rafael Araújo, professor of international relations at UERJ, an expert on Venezuelan politics and history, said that the Lima Group is trying to play a leading role in the negotiations on Venezuela.

For the expert, the US sanctions imposed the day before the meeting point to this attempt by the Lima Group to try to take Nicolás Maduro out of power.

“I would not say that there is an attempt by the Lima Group to compete with Norway, as Norway has been negotiating bilaterally with the government and the opposition, it is one more attempt. In this scenario, it is no coincidence the sanctions that the US government has announced regarding Venezuela,” he explained.

Rafael Araújo said that, on the other hand, Russia, China, Cuba and Turkey boycotted the Lima Group meeting precisely because the bloc represented the desire for a way out of the crisis in Venezuela without Maduro remaining in power.

“The stance of these 4 countries is not a boycott of a peace articulation, but there is an initiative of the Lima Group that is incarnated by governments that are radically opposed to Nicolás Maduro,” he added.

Venezuela is experiencing a widespread political and humanitarian crisis that intensified in January when, after contesting Maduro’s reelection, opposition leader Juan Guaidó unlawfully declared himself interim president. The United States and some other countries have recognized Guaido. Turkey, as well as China, Cuba, Bolivia, Russia and other countries continue to recognize Maduro as the only legitimate president of the South American country.

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