Venezuela condemns US sanctions threat

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza.

Venezuela has hit back at the United States after it issued fresh threats to impose new sanctions against Venezuelan officials while attempting to derail the dialogue between Venezuela’s government and opposition.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza tweeted on January 13 that statements by US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon were “revealing”.

Speaking from Madrid in Spain, Shannon said on January 12 that the US was preparing new sanctions against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Shannon said: “There is still a lot of work to be done: from our point of view, sanctions are part of the force to convince the government that the exit from the crisis that Venezuela suffers today depends on a successful negotiation.”

The US official said the sanctions were not intended to impact the general population, but intended for Venezuelan government officials who “have committed acts of violence against the people”.

In response, Arreaza launched a blistering attack on Twitter: “The statements of Thomas Shannon in Madrid are revealing: he travels to give direct orders to the European Union to continue attacking Venezuela.

“It would be sad if the EU continues to submit to Donald Trump's interventionist, racist and warmongering opinions.

“Mr Shannon is wasting his time. In response to more efforts made by the US government to torpedo the dialogue and generate conditions of violence, the Venezuelan people will defend their independence and peace that we have consolidated thanks to our constituent democracy.”

Dialogue aimed at promoting peace and unity between the Venezuelan government and opposition has been ongoing in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican President Danilo Medina, who has been mediating the talks, said on January 13: “Although we have very important advances, we still have things that are pending.”

That day, Venezuelan government representative Jorge Rodriguez and an opposition representative said there was agreement on many points, with more still to be resolved.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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