The foreign ministers of the European Union (EU) addressed this Monday in Luxembourg the diplomatic efforts to achieve a political solution to the Venezuelan crisis and the consequences of the application of the U.S. Helms-Burton Act on Cuba, among other current affairs.
The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini informed the ministers about the first contacts made by the special adviser for Venezuela, Enrique Iglesias.
Likewise, it rendered account on the meeting recently held by the international contact group―boosted by the EU to promote conditions in which fair presidential elections can be held in Venezuela―with the Lima group, composed of American countries critical of the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
The EU supports any dialogue that allows finding a peaceful and political solution to the crisis in Venezuela, such as the negotiations between the government and the opposition taking place in Oslo, as long as they are complementary to its diplomatic efforts.
The contact group, which will meet again soon, has access to all parties involved in this conflict, as well as to civil society.
Several diplomatic sources considered that the time is not right to speak of sanctions, although the Council of the EU is continuing its preparatory work for a legislative framework to apply them.
On the other hand, Mogherini addressed the effects of the activation by the United States of the Helms-Burton Act, which allows filing lawsuits in U.S. courts against foreign companies with interests in the Caribbean island and which have benefited from land or property expropriated after the Revolution of 1959.
On May 24, Mogherini discussed the matter with Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez; both showed their rejection of this measure by Washington and assessed the next steps.
The EU has already advanced its intention to apply the “blockade statute,” which prohibits the application in EU territory of sentences in the United States on Title III and allows defendants to receive compensation in European courts.
Neither is a possible claim before the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled out. The European bloc already appealed to this agency when the Helms-Burton was approved in 1996, and it was not withdrawn until Washington made the commitment to keep frozen the aforementioned Title III.
In addition, the ministers addressed the situation in the Middle East and, according to diplomatic sources, in Iran, where the secretary general of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid, has just made an official visit.
As a backdrop, they discussed the alleged attack on two cargo ships that occurred last Thursday in the Persian Gulf, which the United States and allies like the United Kingdom attribute to Tehran.
Iran is wrestling with most of the Arab countries, especially with the Persian Gulf States, with Saudi Arabia at the head, for the hegemony of the region.
The foreign ministers also discussed with their defense counterparts the progress made in the global security strategy of the EU.
In addition, they approved a declaration on the situation in Sudan, where the EU has already said that it considers the Transitional Military Council responsible for the country’s security and has asked that it be contained.
At the beginning of the month the Sudanese army violently evicted a camp site in Khartoum which demanded from the military the transition towards a civilian government.
The African country began a transition in April with the army’s overthrow of President Omar al Bashir after months of street protests due to the poor economic situation, inflation and the shortage of goods.
Until the outbreak of violence, negotiations between the Transitional Military Council and the opposition coalition to establish a transitional government progressed very slowly and have been paralyzed by recent events.