Venezuela: Today’s impasse must not and cannot lead us to resign ourselves [fr]
Venezuela – Vote on US and Russia draft resolutions
Explanation of by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 28 February 2019
We regret the two vetoes against the American draft resolution (S/2019/186) — a draft resolution that could have contributed to a political and peaceful resolution of the crisis in Venezuela and relieved the suffering of the Venezuelan people at a time when they are facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history.
Contrary to what we have heard here in the Chamber, the American text, which took into account many of our requests, was neither a legal basis for the use of force nor an attempt to undermine the sovereignty of Venezuela. As everyone knows, France — along with the whole of the European Union — has constantly reiterated its repudiation of the use of force to resolve the Venezuelan crisis, to echo what the State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany has just said.
The draft resolution of which we voted in favour reflects not only the tragic reality of Venezuela today, but also our commitment to a peaceful and political resolution of the crisis. As many States, including France, pointed out last Tuesday (see S/PV.8472), the holding of free, credible and transparent presidential elections should be the priority objective for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy. It is a matter of delivering a political solution to a political crisis. That is the raison d’être of the International Contact Group launched by the European Union and Uruguay, of which France is a member.
The stance of the countries that blocked the draft resolution after having refused to participate in the negotiations serves to protect Nicolás Maduro’s regime. Along with the majority of the Council’s member States, France believes that it is the responsibility of the Security Council to strongly condemn the blockage of humanitarian aid, as well as the use of violence against women and men whose only crime is a desire to provide help and assistance to their fellow citizens. The use of the veto today serves to protect a regime that has decided to starve its people.
Furthermore, the text submitted by Russia (S/2019/190) clearly does not provide a solution to the current crisis. It maintains the illusion that Venezuela is in a peaceful situation and raises the spectre of foreign invasion at a time when 3.5 million migrants and refugees have fled the country and the majority of the population has been plunged into total poverty. The Russian draft resolution does not include a single word on those tens of millions of people. Not once does the word “humanitarian” appear in the draft resolution. The Venezuelan population’s access to neutral, transparent and independent international aid is an absolute necessity.
Today’s impasse must not and cannot lead us to resign ourselves to the situation. France will pursue its efforts, in particular through the International Contact Group. It is in that spirit that I wish to reiterate our call for a peaceful and negotiated end to the crisis, which entails the organization of free, credible and transparent presidential elections as soon as possible, as well as free access to humanitarian aid.
While Venezuela is now on the verge of collapse, our responsibility is neither to supplant the Venezuelan people nor to make decisions for them. On the contrary, it is to give them a voice and allow them to express themselves freely in order for them to take ownership of their destiny. Therein lies the compass that guides France’s actions.