UN Security Council to meet Monday on Venezuela crisis

AFP , Wednesday 8 Nov 2017

Security Council
File Photo: Members of the Security Council vote during meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York, July 21, 2014 (Reuters)

The UN Security Council will hold an informal meeting on Monday called by the United States to discuss the deepening crisis in Venezuela, diplomats said.

The council will hear from Luis Almagro, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS) and an outspoken critic of President Nicolas Maduro's government.

The United States has slapped sanctions on Venezuela after labeling Maduro a "dictator".

Argentinian Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie confirmed the planned council meeting to journalists in New York.

Faurie, who was accompanying President Mauricio Macri, said there was major health and food emergency in Venezuela that the United Nations must address.

"Venezuela at the start was a worry to us. Now it's painful," said Macri, who discussed the crisis with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN headquarters.

"We need to find ways to ensure that free and transparent elections can happen in Venezuela," said Faurie.

"What we have today in Venezuela is a state of non-democracy with many violations of human rights and political rights."

Venezuelan lawmaker Freddy Guevara sought refuge at Chile's embassy in Caracas on Saturday, a day after the pro-government Supreme Court stripped him of his immunity and said he would be prosecuted on charges punishable by a decade in prison.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley has called on the council to turn its attention to Venezuela after leading a closed-door meeting of the top UN body on the crisis in May.

The council has maintained that regional organizations were best placed to address the situation.

Maduro's opponents are demanding elections as the country, pummeled by the plunge in oil prices since mid-2014, faces a crippling shortages of food, medicine and other basic essentials.

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