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The UNASUR Council of Foreign Ministers on the situation in Venezuela, comprised of the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Mauro Vieira; of Colombia, María Ángela Holguín, and of Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño, visited Caracas on March 6, pursuant to the mandate of promoting dialogue between the different Venezuelan political actors. The Secretary-General of UNASUR, Ernesto Samper, and the representative of the Pro Tempore Presidency of the organization, currently held by Uruguay, also participated in the mission.

The Council met with government officials and representatives of the opposition parties that constitute the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD). In all these meetings, the Council made it clear that solutions representing institutional rupture are not acceptable.

Meetings were held with President Nicolás Maduro and Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez, as well as with the heads of the Electoral National Council, the Supreme Court of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General.

Seven representatives of the coalition that composes the MUD, including former presidential candidate and Governor of the State of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, the Governor of the State of Lara, Henri Falcon, and Enrique Naime, of the Independent Electoral Political Organization Committee (COPEI) participated in the meeting with the opposition, which took place at the headquarters of the Apostolic Nunciature.

The situation of the detained political opponents, including Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma, was addressed both with the opposition and with the government. Venezuelan judicial authorities provided explanations about the ongoing legal procedures related to the detainees.

President Maduro and the National Electoral Council assured the Council that the parliament elections scheduled for this year will be convened soon. The Electoral Council indicated that it should set the electoral calendar in the course of the next few weeks.

The Electoral Council also informed that it will soon organize, upon request of the interested parties, the so called primaries, to select the candidates within the different parties, both the MUD (May 17th) and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela – PSUV (June 28th).

It was agreed that UNASUR will send a technical mission to follow the electoral process, starting already from its early stages.

There was consensus on the electoral option as the way to solve the current political differences.

UNASUR is currently the only international organism which counts on the approval both of the Government and of the opposition to further the promotion of dialogue among Venezuelans.

It was also agreed that the Council of Foreing Ministers will pursue its efforts to promote dialogue through new visits to the country, in order to meet with representatives from the government, from the opposition parties gathered in the MUD and from representative sectors of the Venezuelan civil society.

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