Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a joint news conference with Executive Vice President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Delcy Rodriguez following talks with President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, Caracas, February 7, 2020
Madam Executive Vice President,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I feel at home in Venezuela. Let me express my sincere gratitude for the hospitality that has been accorded to our delegation.
Our visit was very eventful. A lengthy and very frank conversation with President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro has just come to an end. In the morning, we held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Arreaza and Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez. The talks were also attended by the Venezuelan Government ministers in charge of economic issues.
We focused on the specific issues that need to be addressed so that we can promote our strategic partnership. While discussing these matters, we were guided by the agreements reached by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro during their meeting in Moscow on September 25, 2019.
We have firmly underscored our commitment to and respect for Venezuela’s sovereignty and our solidarity with the Venezuelan leaders and the people of Venezuela in their opposition to the illegal pressure brought to bear by the United States and its accomplices. We reject illegal sanctions, methods of blackmail and diktat in international relations, and any other steps that undermine the principles of the UN Charter, primarily interference in internal affairs of sovereign states and attempts to threaten the use of force.
A movement in defence of the UN Charter, in which our two countries are actively involved, is gaining strength at the United Nations. I am quite sure that this is a highly urgent task.
We have agreed upon our moves to achieve greater international coordination and arranged to build up trade, economic, investment and humanitarian cooperation in the face of the illegal sanctions. There are particularly good prospects for coordinated actions in such fields as energy, natural resources, various industries, agriculture and transport.
It goes without saying that we will promote our military-technical cooperation to reliably ensure our friends’ defence capability, particularly in the face of external threats. All aspects of our material collaboration and practical cooperation will be discussed at the session of the High-Level Commission on Trade and Economic Interaction scheduled for May of this year. We have also expressed full support for the efforts being taken by President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro and the Government to establish a national dialogue and to ensure that all strata of society participate in the decision-making on the fate of their country. That this fundamental and consistent course enjoys wide-ranging public support has been confirmed today, when we attended a special meeting of the National Dialogue Roundtable with the participation of Government and opposition representatives.
What is of particular importance is that the national dialogue is open to the involvement of any other representatives of the Venezuelan public, as confirmed by President Nicolas Maduro and other interlocutors. I think it is highly positive and farsighted that the Venezuelan leaders have expressed readiness and even come up with an initiative to invite outside observers to monitor the local electoral reform. This confirms our Venezuelan friends’ openness to the entire international community and their readiness to uphold in deed the truly democratic principles of their country’s structure. It is the Venezuelan people alone that have the right to decide the fate of their country. Russia will do its best to support precisely this approach. For this purpose, we will use the relations of strategic partnership with Venezuela. Insofar as diplomatic ties are concerned, these relations, as you may know, will mark the 75th anniversary in March. We have arranged to fittingly celebrate this occasion.
In conclusion, let me stress that we are looking forward to President Nicolas Maduro’s visit timed to the events in honour of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War to be held in Moscow on May 9.
Once again, many thanks indeed for your splendid hospitality.