February 23, 2019
- Dujarric said the message has been shared with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and would also be handed to his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza
In this photo provided by the United Nations, Jorge Arreaza, left, Minister of the People’s Power for Foreign Affairs, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, shakes hands with Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at United Nations headquarters on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP)
UNITED NATIONS – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all parties in Venezuela to avoid resorting to violence Friday after soldiers killed at least two people trying to prevent troops from blocking aid on the Brazilian border.
“Any loss of life is regrettable,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. “Looking ahead for tomorrow, the secretary-general strongly appeals for violence to be avoided.”
Dujarric said the message has been shared with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and would also be handed to his Venezuelan counterpart Jorge Arreaza.
Humanitarian aid has become a key focus of the power struggle between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who enjoys Russian support, and US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been recognized as interim leader by more than 50 countries.
The US and Venezuelan top diplomats requested the meetings with Guterres.
So far, the UN chief has resisted pressure to take a side, instead using his position to seek to negotiate a solution to the crisis, and opposing any politicization of humanitarian aid.
“The secretary-general is doing what he can,” Dujarric said, hinting that Guterres has little room to maneuver.
“Aid should be used in a way which is impartial… and without military objective,” Dujarric added, denouncing Friday’s violent flare-up.
Guterres has met with Arreaza twice so far since early February.
Arreaza is due to preside over an afternoon meeting with 46 countries including China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia and Syria.
The countries are part of a group created last week at the UN to defend the principles of the UN Charter.