MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday denounced U.S. foreign policy in Venezuela, criticizing U.S. “provocations” and attempts to create what he called a pretext for military intervention.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures as he speaks during a news conference, in Mexico City, Mexico February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
Russia and the United States have repeatedly clashed over Venezuela, where Russian oil companies and military advisers are playing a key role in support of the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro.
The United States and dozens of other countries recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has been trying to oust Maduro, as Venezuela’s rightful president. Washington has imposed sanctions in a bid to dislodge Maduro.
Lavrov, on a visit to Mexico, condemned attempts to remove Maduro as not “useful,” and said Washington’s threats against Venezuela were counterproductive.
“No one can solve the problems of Venezuelans for them, but others may very well try to prevent them from negotiating. We see such attempts aimed at setting a pretext for a military intervention,” Lavrov said, according to Russian state news agency Tass.
“Russia and Mexico agree that this will be categorically unacceptable,” Lavrov added, according to Tass.
Lavrov met with Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard on Thursday and afterwards said U.S. foreign policy was stuck in the past, and accused it of using bullying tactics.
“The United States thinks that everything is allowed and in the meantime they threaten the interlocutors, including punishments and sanctions,” Lavrov said at a news conference in Mexico City, according to a live translation of his comments into Spanish.
Lavrov said the United States was “threatening that all options are on the table” and was involved in “provocations” in Venezuela.
Lavrov also blamed Guaido for the suspension of last year’s talks with the Venezuelan government in Oslo.
Reporting by Marianna Paragga; writing by Drazen Jorgic; additional reporting by Sharay Angulo and Adriana Barrera; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
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