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CARICOM chairman heads to Costa Rica to discuss escalating Venezuela crisis

By OPM

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Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris

(PRESS RELEASE) — Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, is set to travel to San José, Costa Rica where he will engage in follow-up high-level talks with the International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela to discuss important next steps.

In late March, the CARICOM chairman visited Ecuador for discussions with the ICG on Venezuela, which was holding its second meeting at the ministerial level in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital.

The ICG issued a communiqué after its Quito meeting, stating that the ICG “expresses its willingness to increase contacts with regional and international partners in order to foster a common understanding and response to the situation in Venezuela”.

Its communiqué also said the ICG welcomed the “participation of the Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis – in his capacity as Chair of CARICOM – and the Secretary-General of CARICOM in the outreach session of the meeting”.

The statement added that the ICG would reconvene at the ministerial level at the beginning of May in Costa Rica. The ministerial meeting of the ICG is scheduled to take place today, Monday, May 6 – Tuesday, May 7.

The ICG held its inaugural meeting in Uruguay in early February. Immediately following the ICG’s first meeting, Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief met with the CARICOM chairman and members of his high-level delegation in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.

That conversation with the EU’s foreign policy chief came a day after CARICOM, Mexico and Uruguay released details of their plan to resolve Venezuela’s political crisis. Their four-phased plan is referred to as the Montevideo Mechanism.

The ICG, which was established by the European Union in January in response to the growing political crisis in Venezuela, comprises the EU, eight of its member states and several Latin American countries including Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay.

Over the weekend, CARICOM issued a communiqué that noted with concern “the turn of events in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the potential they hold for the escalation of the political crisis and further violence to the detriment of the people of the country”.

The statement also said: “The Community will continue to support diplomatic efforts such as the Montevideo Mechanism. We will also continue to be in contact with other interested parties to encourage efforts to bring a peaceful solution to the crisis.”

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