The Russian Foreign Ministry calls on the Venezuelan government and opposition to renew their dialogue as soon as possible to prevent the country from entering an armed conflict, the ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Friday.
In March, the Venezuelan Supreme Court decided to restrict the power of the state’s National Assembly. The decision was immediately reversed amid a backlash, but supporters of the opposition-controlled parliament, who strive for the dismissal of the court members, took to the streets in early April. The series of protests which then ensued have claimed at least 95 lives.
“We consider it necessary for the soonest resumption of responsible negotiations between the government and opposition, aimed at reaching a compromise, abandoning scenarios that involve the use of force, and preventing the country from sliding into abyss of an armed conflict,” Zakharova said.
Zakharova called the attempts to influence any of the Venezuelan conflict’s parties and interfere in the country’s domestic affairs unacceptable. The spokeswomen went on to stress that Moscow did not want the situation in Venezuela to turn into an unmanageable conflict.
“We do not see any alternative to the peace dialogue as a method of stabilizing the situation in the state,” Zakharova said.
Zakharova also noted that Russia welcomed Venezuelan Supreme Court’s July 8 decision to change the sentence of opposition figure Leopoldo Lopez, who was given 13 years, nine months and seven days in prison in 2014, from jail time to house arrest.
“It seems that such an unequivocal signal of readiness to compromise should prompt a response from the opposition, which, unfortunately, has not happened yet,” Zakharova added.
Venezuela entered into turbulent times in January 2016, when a new legislature was elected and relations between state’s leader Nicolas Maduro and the parliament became strained.
In October 2016, the Venezuelan National Assembly voted to initiate impeachment proceedings against Maduro. In January, the parliament declared that Maduro abandoned his post as result of refusing to carry out his duties. The Supreme Court of Justice, however, stated that the National Assembly does not have the constitutional powers to declare abandonment. Maduro classified the parliament’s actions as a coup attempt.