Remarks by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia regarding Venezuela Support Group
Q: I have a question about your draft resolution on Venezuela. Do you plan to move on it?
A: We will see. As minister of Venezuela very wisely said, we do not betray our plans in advance.
Q: What is going on in Warsaw at the moment?
A: An anti-Iranian gathering. That is what is going on in Warsaw today. We are not participating because we do not see value added to this conference. To build coalitions against somebody, against countries, in this case in particular against Iran will not help to solve numerous issues which confront the Middle East. This is the wrong way to do it. We have said it in advance and we continue to say so.
There is one little thing about Venezuela I would like to draw your attention to. Today there was a conclusion made by the legal service of the German Bundestag on the recognition issue. The legal service of the German Bundestag concluded that recognition, in legal terms, is an internal affair of a state according to its constitution; and recognition that some of the countries provided for the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela Juan Guido is null and void, legally speaking.
Q: What will Russia do to support Venezuela?
A: We have just demonstrated, did we not?
Q: I mean military aid, help, in case things get there.
A: God forbid we talk about military things. Of course, the developments around Venezuela are worrisome. We are very much concerned that some hotheads may be considering military action against Venezuela. As I was saying before it would be a very bad development. In that all the Latin American countries are united, no matter how they view the situation, no matter whom they support, they are categorically against any military intervention in Venezuela.
Q: Are you encouraged by the support in Congress for Maduro government, like Ilhan Omar and others?
A: Well, I think that reasonable people are everywhere, including in Congress.
Q: Are you planning to deliver some sort of aid? We understand that they have an economic crisis. The Ambassador and the Foreign Minister say they do not have a humanitarian crisis, but there are people in the streets who are begging for food, they are digging into trash. What is your response to that?
A: The problem is that humanitarian aid today is used as a political card and a political tool. It may lead to provocations, that in their turn may lead to something much worse than that. You know, this time around humanitarian aid has become a tool in a political game. If the government of Venezuela prefers to request humanitarian aid from the United Nations, it can always do it. There are principles of providing humanitarian aid: neutrality, impartiality, humanity and the respect for the receiving government. In fact, if you were not aware of it, the International Committee of Red Cross refused to play this game. They said they would not do it. Only if the government asks them to provide this aid, then they will engage, but they will not engage in the game that is being played around Venezuela today.
Q: Have you decided in the Security Council not to continue the consultations on the visit to the occupied Palestinian territory?
A: We have not decided in the Security Council not to continue consultations on the visit to the West Bank.
Q: What is the message that you send today to the international community and the government of the United States?
A: I think our message was loud and clear. We want all countries in the world and the United States in particular to observe the international law and respect the UN Charter, which we see is being clearly violated today.
Q: We know that Russia is working on a draft resolution about Venezuela that is going to be presented in the Security Council. Could you tell more about this draft resolution?
A: Whether it will be presented or not and when it will be presented – this is still an issue under discussion. But indeed we have a draft resolution that we can propose to our colleagues at certain point.
Q: What is the United States trying to do against Venezuela in the Security Council?
A: We had a meeting on 26 January. You heard it all. You saw what was discussed there. What the United States is trying to do about Venezuela is mainly done not in the Security Council. It is external interference, pressure, robbery by daylight. They have frozen their assets in the US. They basically deprived Venezuela of their right to manage Citgo, a Venezuelan company based here in the US. The Bank of England has frozen Venezuelan assets in gold worth $1.2 bln. I mean this is unacceptable, this is unilateral and in fact, this is illegal. To say that it offsets the humanitarian aid, worth $20 mln – this is really a joke.
Q: What could you say about possible military action against Venezuela? Is Russia going to support Venezuela if something of the sort happens?
A: I want to exclude this scenario at any cost. I believe it would be a very big mistake if that idea were implemented. As I said during the Press Conference, so far the best guarantee against it is the total rejection by the Latin American countries of an idea of military intervention. That would lead to unforeseen circumstances. I do not even want to contemplate this.
Q: Thank you, Ambassador.
Q: Russia did send nuclear capable ships just to visit Venezuela a month ago. Is there an importation of that? Is there something meant as Russian military aid?
A: It was a friendly visit. There were no nuclear armaments onboard of those ships. Not that I know anything about this plan. As I said during the Press Conference, we want to exclude any military scenario around Venezuela. The best guarantee for that is the complete rejection of such scenario by Latin American countries. They hate to think about anything like military intervention in Venezuela.
Q: Has Russia had any contact with the Guido group?
A: I am not aware of this.
Q: Thank you.