US pushes for fresh elections in Venezuela in UN; Russia, China may veto
United Nations (United States), Feb 28: The United States has requested a vote on Thursday at the UN Security Council on a draft resolution calling for presidential elections in Venezuela and unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian aid, diplomats said.
Russia and China, who support President Nicolas Maduro, are likely to veto the measure that "expresses deep concern about the actions of a regime that have caused an economic collapse," diplomats said.
The draft resolution, seen by AFP, calls for "free, fair and credible presidential elections," with the presence of international observers, and describes the May vote in which Maduro was declared the winner as "neither free nor fair."
The US-drafted measure expresses support for "the peaceful restoration of democracy and rule of law in Venezuela" and requests that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres broker a deal on holding fresh elections. Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has declared himself acting president, is locked in a political battle against Maduro, whom he blames for an economic meltdown that has sent millions fleeing across borders.
The United States is leading a push for recognition of Guaido, who heads the National Assembly, backed by about 50 countries including Britain, France, Germany and several Latin American nations such as Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. Four people died in clashes over the weekend on Venezuela's borders during a bid by Guaido to defy Maduro and bring in humanitarian aid to help Venezuelans enduring a dire economic crisis.
Maduro has accused the United States of using aid as a political tool aimed at overthrowing him, and blames US sanctions for the economic turmoil in his country. The proposed measure stresses the importance of ensuring the security of opposition members, but a reference in a previous draft expressing "full support" for the National Assembly was dropped.
Diplomats said they expected the proposed measure to win at least nine votes in the council, forcing a veto to block its adoption. Resolutions at the Security Council, which are legally binding, must garner nine votes and no vetoes from the five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- to be adopted.
he ongoing crisis in Venezuela turned worse on Friday, February 22, when the security forces opened fire on a group of protesters who tried to prevent them from blocking the border with its biggest neighbour Brazil to the South.