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Caracas to skip Barbados talks with opposition

China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-09 09:32

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks at a meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, July 28, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Venezuela's government will skip a round of Norway-brokered talks on Thursday and Friday to protest a new set of US sanctions against the country, the Venezuelan Information Ministry said on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump on Monday imposed a freeze on Venezuelan government assets in the United States and blocked US citizens from conducting business with Maduro's government.

Maduro's government said its delegation was withdrawing from the round of talks in Barbados aimed at resolving Venezuela's political crisis with allies of opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"President Nicolas Maduro has decided not to send the Venezuelan delegation to this opportunity due to the severe and brutal aggression perpetrated continuously and insidiously by the Trump administration against Venezuela," said Jorge Rodriguez, head of the government delegation to the talks, in a statement published on Wednesday night.

"Venezuela is willing to review the mechanisms of this process such that its continuation is effective and in tune with the interests of the people," Venezuela's Information Ministry said in a statement.

China on Thursday expressed resolute opposition to US gross interference in Venezuela's internal affairs, urging Washington to immediately stop the bullying behavior of wantonly suppressing another country.

"We have to point out that which political party rules a country is a domestic issue and should be decided by its people," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in an online statement.

Her remarks came after Trump's sanctions on Monday. On Tuesday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton warned China and Russia not to support Maduro.

Noting cooperation between China and Venezuela has been conducted with equality, mutual benefit, win-win results and market principles, Hua said the legitimate cooperation has delivered benefits to the two countries and peoples, and it enjoys no interference from others.

On Wednesday, thousands of supporters of Maduro took to the streets in Venezuela's capital city of Caracas to protest against US sanctions.

Carrying the national flag and holding anti-US slogans, demonstrators gathered at the city center to listen to government officials speak.

The new sanctions imposed by the US administration is the latest in a series of "arbitrary measures of economic terrorism against the Venezuelan people", the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry said. It added that Washington wants to "formalize its criminal economic, financial and trade embargoes".

Wednesday's rally was also a commemoration to mark the bicentennial of the historic Battle of Boyaca, which is considered the beginning of the independence of North of South America.

During the rally at the National Pantheon in Caracas, Diosdado Cabello, vice-president of Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela, condemned the sanctions, saying that the US move against Venezuela "makes us more united and deepens our love for the country".

"The United States is absolutely mistaken," Cabello told the crowd.

Zhou Jin in Beijing, Reuters and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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