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Venezuelan top diplomat meets UN chief in New York

Venezuelan top diplomat meets UN chief in New York
The meeting indicates UN's changing attitude towards President Maduro

By Vakkas Dogantekin

ANKARA (AA) - Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza expressed disappointment on Wednesday regarding the report issued by the UN Human Rights Commission regarding his country's situation.

"We expressed our disagreement about how that report was constructed, as announced and disseminated," Arreaza told reporters after he met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at UN HQ in New York.

Arreaza reiterated his government's objections regarding the methodology of data collection.

Caracas government said the report took the side of the opposition.

The report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro and his security forces are committing "gross violations of human rights” against the Venezuelan people, and his government’s special forces “killed at least 5,287 people in 2018 and, at minimum, another 1,569 by mid-May 2019”.

The report came after Bachelet paid a three-day visit to Venezuela on June 24 to evaluate the human rights situation in the country.

Maduro slammed the UN report and penned a letter to the OHCHR on July 11.

“A report that lacks balance and rigor, openly biased that -- while presenting a distorted account of the human rights situation in our country – does not reflect the information and data provided by the State but that of the trite media narratives imposed by the imperial media hegemony," he said.

In the letter, Maduro also denied that his government is a “dictatorship”.

“Can a political project legitimized 23 times at the ballot box in the last 20 years be called a dictatorship? Can a government be called a dictatorship that in a Constitution voted by the people, gave for the first time rights to the indigenous people, children, women, elderly and that had made visible and empowered the impoverished majority and disfranchised minorities?” Maduro asked.

In his meeting with UN chief Guterres, Arreaza also said that his government is working to reach an agreement in Barbados meetings with the country's opposition in order to "reach a political agreement for peace and tolerance."

Arreaza added Guterres expressed his full support for the Norway-led dialogue efforts initiated in the Caribbean island of Barbados.

Political unrest has been ongoing in Venezuela between President Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido since Jan. 10.

Guaido in January proclaimed himself the rightful president of Venezuela, dismissing Maduro’s 2018 re-election as a fraud, a move recognized by more than 50 states, including the U.S.

But Venezuelan state institutions, as well as the military, have been putting their weight behind Maduro.

Turkey has also supported Maduro as the country’s legitimate leader in the face of foreign-backed coup attempts.

source: News Feed
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