Question No. 406
Parliamentary Question - Oireachtas
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the situation in Venezuela; his views on the elections for a new constituent assembly due to be held on 30 July 2017; the actions taken to date by the European Union in relation to recent developments in Venezuela; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 26th July, 2017.
Ref No: 35854/17
I reiterate my deep concern at the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, a country faced with grave political, economic, and humanitarian crises. The past months have seen almost daily mass protests and violence in Venezuela, resulting in dozens of deaths in clashes between security forces and opposition demonstrators. The reported human rights violations, excessive use of force, and mass detentions are unacceptable. I condemn unreservedly any act of intimidation or violence perpetrated against those seeking to defend or exercise their rights, whether in Venezuela or elsewhere.
Ireland’s view is that the establishment of a clear electoral calendar, the reopening of dialogue, and the full restoration of the country’s democratic institutions will be critical to achieving a settlement to the crisis. This was made clear when the situation in Venezuela was discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council in May 2017. Ireland and other EU member states used this opportunity to condemn the use of force in Venezuela and urge the Government and opposition to seek peaceful and democratic solutions through dialogue.
Regarding the Constituent Assembly, I share the view expressed by Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, in her press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council last week. The convening of a Constituent Assembly risks further polarising Venezuela and increasing confrontation in the country. The focus of all political actors should instead be on finding ways to create the conditions to resume efforts towards a peaceful negotiated solution.
While Ireland does not have diplomatic representation in Venezuela, officials at my Department and at our Embassy in Mexico, which has responsibility for Venezuela, will continue to monitor the situation closely. Ireland will continue to work with EU partners in trying to urge a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the crisis.