Barbados is set to be the stage as Venezuela’s warring political factions hold historic talks here brokered by Norway, with Prime Minister Mottley hanging on to hope for a peaceful resolution to the South American nation’s political and humanitarian crisis.
Mottley told reporters this afternoon that she was heartened that representatives of president Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó have agreed to sit down at the negotiating table with Norway’s mediation.
Barbados is one of a troika of CARICOM nations including St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago which have been instrumental in pushing for non-intervention in, and dialogue on, the Venezuelan crisis by spearheading the five-month-old Montevideo Mechanism along with Mexico and Uruguay. Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, was a special guest of CARICOM leaders at their 40th annual summit, held in St Lucia. She held private talks with Prime Minister Mottley.
The Prime Minister contended that the talks were to CARICOM’s long-held view that it is never too late for dialogue.
“I think the public will recall that since January, the Government of Barbados along with other CARICOM governments have made it clear that the time for dialogue is never over. As a zone of peace, we will want to see a very peaceful resolution to the problems in Venezuela.”
“We are aware of the humanitarian crisis and we are equally aware that you can’t have the type of intervention that is in breach of the charter of the United Nations or the charter of the Organisation of American States (OAS). So, to that extent, we are happy to be able to facilitate those discussions, which are being facilitated by the government of Norway,” she said.
Norway’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement on Sunday announcing the two sides “will meet this week in Barbados to make progress in seeking an agreed and constitutional solution for the country. The negotiations will take place in a continuous and expedited manner”.
The political deadlock between the two sides reached a critical point in January, after Guaidó declared himself “interim president” of Venezuela and was immediately recognized by the United States. Initial meetings between the two camps to resume talks began in mid-May in Oslo.
Mottley insisted that apart from hosting the meeting, Barbados will be playing no major role in the discussions.
The Prime Minister told journalists: “Barbados has had a reputation as a country, whose foreign policy has been consistent, that we are friends of all and satellites of none. We stay above the fray and we seek to bring about peace wherever we can. This is a matter that requires the utmost patience, so it is not something that you should be asking me or anybody about on a daily basis, let the people talk. When you have deep divisions it takes time and I have every confidence in the government of Norway being able to do what CARICOM has wanted done since January.”