Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Questions (63, 73, 87)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

63. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the impasse in Venezuela and the views of many that the EU and NATO-allied countries have shown hypocrisy in their reaction to the situation in Venezuela; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17595/19]

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Clare Daly

Question:

73. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to call for a lifting of the sanctions on Venezuela, which are causing significant hardship for the population, as a first step in internationally facilitated talks between all sides in the country to resolve the present crisis. [17540/19]

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Mick Wallace

Question:

87. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his decision to support a person (details supplied) will be reconsidered with regard to the interim presidency of Venezuela; if he will consider working for a peaceful solution to the developments in Venezuela; if he will raise a case for this approach at the next Foreign Affairs Council meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17604/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 63, 73 and 87 together.

I am deeply concerned by the grave humanitarian situation in Venezuela, where conditions have deteriorated further due to the devastating impact of recent blackouts. Ireland, along with our EU partners, has repeatedly called on President Maduro to acknowledge the full scale of the humanitarian crisis. Reports of ongoing serious human rights violations in Venezuela, including a growing risk of violence, are also deeply troubling.

The EU has provided €117m in assistance since 2018. Ireland fully supports the efforts of the EU's International Contact Group (ICG) to enable urgent delivery of humanitarian aid in line with humanitarian principles. I also welcome the establishment of the UN coordination mechanism for the delivery of aid in the country.

The International Contact Group aims to facilitate a peaceful, democratic solution to the crisis, by seeking to put in place conditions to allow for a political process to take place. It is important to note that the ICG, whose membership includes EU MS and countries from the region, is currently the only international diplomatic mechanism that is engaging with both sides and all stakeholders. I welcome its progress to date and fully support its important work. At its most recent meeting on 28 March, it reaffirmed that the multiple crisis affecting Venezuela can only have a political, peaceful, democratic and Venezuelan-owned solution, excluding the use of force, through the holding of free, transparent and credible presidential elections as soon as possible.

The EU has also put in place targeted sanctions, including an embargo on arms, and targeted measures against those responsible for human rights violations, and undermining democracy and the rule of law.

On 6 February, Ireland joined the vast majority of other EU MS in acknowledging and supporting Mr. Guaidó, President of the democratically elected National Assembly, as President ad interim of Venezuela, in order for him to call for free, fair and democratic presidential elections. This remains the position of 24 EU Member States, including Ireland.

Ireland is committed to bringing about a peaceful solution that gives the Venezuelan people the opportunity to decide their own future through democratic elections, in line with international standards. Venezuela was discussed on 8 April at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting and I will continue to engage on Venezuela at future meetings.