Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. (Reuters)
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent – Leaders of the ten-member sub-regional grouping, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro have agreed to “an initiative that would advance peace, good governance and dialogue” in the South American nation.
“We will work to establish an appropriate mission to Venezuela,” said chair of the 64th meeting of the OECS, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris yesterday during a joint press conference with Maduro.
The Venezuelan President arrived here yesterday on an unannounced visit to have talks with OECS leaders.
It’s believed that the Venezuelan president may have decided to attend the OECS Authority meeting in a bid to rally support amidst mounting political unrest at home and political pressure from the major hemispheric organisation.
Speaking at the joint press conference, Harris said Maduro provided an update “on matters of mutual interest including matters at home in Venezuela and issues related to recent development at the OAS.
“We were very much better informed as a result of his presentation to us and we had very candid discussion on our very strong relations with Venezuela and our commitment on issues of sovereignty, non-interference and rule of law.”
Harris said that OAS leaders also discussed with Maduro a more constructive role to be played by the OECS to facilitate better dialogue, a reduction in tensions, and more collaboration in furtherance of the national interest of the people of Venezuela.
“The president readily agreed to an initiative that would advance peace, good governance and dialogue in Venezuela. We will work to establish an appropriate mission to Venezuela. Our member states did, in fact, express, finally, our deep gratitude and appreciation to president Maduro and the people of Venezuela for their kind consideration with respect to the relevant cooperative agreements we have long enjoyed with Venezuela over a whole of initiative – PetroCaribe, ALBA, etc,” he said.
Maduro thanked the prime ministers and member countries of the OECS for “the great opportunity to work together and strengthen their exchanges”.
“I thank you also for the renewed commitment in order to strengthen our air links, sea links, in order to strengthen trade between our countries. And in the same way, I would like to tell the governments and people of the OECS that to express our solidarity with all of you and also to reiterate our commitment that we have in order to further the region of peace, cooperation and integration.”
Meanwhile, host prime minister, Ralph Gonsalves, said he was pleased to have Maduro, “my friend and comrade from Venezuela” at the meeting. (CMC)