The government of Antigua and Barbuda gave strong assurances on Tuesday of its longstanding and special relationship with the government and people of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela which Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. E.P Chet Greene has described as ‘unbreakable’.
Minister Greene reaffirmed the position of Antigua and Barbuda during a courtesy call from the new Ambassador-Designate of Venezuela to Antigua and Barbuda, Her Excellency, Carmen Valesquez de Visbal, as she presented her credential.
“The unbreakable bonds we share are based upon shared values such as mutual respect, multilateralism and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. As a result, we continue to advocate for the adherence of the international community in Venezuelan affairs, including respect for sovereignty, the rule of law, human rights and democracy,” he declared.
Greene emphasized that the people Venezuela must be allowed the opportunity to determine their own future through meaningful dialogue between contending parties. He said Antigua and Barbuda deplores the threat or use of force, by any side, and it condemns the events which occurred on Thursday May 02, 2019, when opposition leader, Juan Guiado appealed to the military for support and attempted to incite a military coup.
The foreign affairs minister noted that both the United Nations and the European Union have expressed concerns over the ongoing crisis in Caracas urging that both sides should exercise the utmost restraint to avoid the loss of lives and an escalation of tensions.
Turning to the bilateral ties between the two nations, Minister Greene thanked Venezuela for the role it continues to play in assisting countries such as Antigua and Barbuda maintain energy security. Noting that the challenges in ensuring that these needs are met are great, the minister said Antigua and Barbuda and other Caribbean nations have been able to enhance their energy security through the PetroCaribe initiative of the Venezuelan government as well as contribute to their socioeconomic advancement.
He recalled that it was Venezuela was among the first countries to respond to Antigua and Barbuda’s plight following the passage of Hurricane Irma in 2017 when that nation dispatched two military aircrafts to Antigua to assist with ferrying relief supplies to Barbuda and to assist with the evacuation of Barbudans when the island was threatened by a second storm. Additionally, Greene noted that the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, personally handed over a cheque for US$1 million to the government for Barbuda relief efforts.
Greene then reaffirmed Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to the principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states ‘in conformity with Article 2 of the UN Charter’.
Ambassador-Designate, Valesquez de Visbal thanked the minister for his kind words and Antigua and Barbuda’s unwavering support for Venezuela at this time. She also says she looks forward to her posting here in Str. John’s with much warmth and goodwill.