Venezuelan minister floats idea of Trump-Maduro talks

Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao

The UN Security Council is set to consider conflicting resolutions on the situation in Venezuela from the United States and Russian Federation, diplomatic sources said here.

However, the US special envoy for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, when asked on Tuesday if Washington was preparing to take military action in Venezuela, responded: "No".

US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday met Guaido and Colombian President Ivan Duque in Bogota for an emergency summit to focus on the Venezuelan crisis.

"The "humanitarian aid" this weekend was a public relations stunt, since the aid was just a tiny fraction of the food and medicine that they are depriving Venezuelans of with the sanctions", Weisbrot said.

The draft resolution is expected to be put to a vote Thursday afternoon, a council diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an expected announcement.

In his remarks, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza asked the Security Council to pass a resolution rejecting "the threat and the use of force" against his country.

The United States "will have a resolution this week which will certainly call for the admission of humanitarian aid into Venezuela" and free elections, he said. It "supports the peaceful restoration of democracy and rule of law in Venezuela".

He also repeated President Donald Trump's threat that "all options are on the table" - fiery language that Guaido himself has adopted in what many see as a unsafe escalation of rhetoric hinting at the use of military force.

Guaido crossed into Colombia on Saturday in preparation for efforts to move aid over the border to Venezuela.

"What is needed are actions that promote transition and the holding of free, transparent elections with worldwide monitoring in order to guarantee as soon as possible the establishment of democracy in Venezuela".

It also stresses the need to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the country.

What occurred on the Colombian border on February 23 was not an attempt to deliver aid, but to breach the frontier of an independent State, he said. Belandria has been recognized as Venezuela's top diplomat by Bolsonaro's government.

The Under Secretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said in her briefing to the council that the situation in Venezuela has been "an alarming escalation of tensions", and the humanitarian crisis is scaling up.

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