Venezuela invites regional governments for high-level talks

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Caracas, Aug 20 (IANS) Venezuela has invited governments from across the Americas that have taken a position on its political processes to gather for high-level talks.

“I call on the countries of our region… if they believe that dialogue is the way forward in Venezuela, and they are not using it as a media tactic to create the conditions for a military intervention… to attend this gathering of governments who believe in political dialogue,” Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza as saying.

The invitation was made when Venezuela’s controversial National Constituent Assembly (ANC) came under a new round of international criticism for allegedly usurping legislative powers, even though the elected body has the power to rewrite laws and amend the constitution.

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Governments critical of the measure “falsely indicate the legislative branch was dissolved by the National Constituent Assembly (when) it is the National Assembly (Congress) that does not recognise the ANC as a plenipotentiary power”, Arreaza said.

The initiative proposed by President Nicolas Maduro to hold a high-level meeting has the backing of some governments, said Arreaza.

European governments are invited to attend to hear “the truth about Venezuela”, he said.

The Foreign Ministry “categorically rejected” a statement issued on Friday by the US State Department, which calls the assembly “illegitimate”, and its assumption of related legislative powers a “power grab”.

The statement “clearly constitutes a new act of interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs”, the Foreign Ministry said.

–IANS

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