28 august / 2017

Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on US sectoral sanctions against Venezuela

Question: What can you say about Washington introducing sectoral sanctions against Venezuela?

Maria Zakharova: We are strongly against unilateral sanctions against sovereign states. The recently announced measures of financial pressure on Venezuela and President Maduro were introduced by Washington when that country started showing signs of relative domestic stabilisation following elections to the National Constituent Assembly: street protests went down somewhat, and a schedule for upcoming elections was outlined, including gubernatorial and presidential elections. Steps were taken to establish cooperation with the National Assembly, which is in opposition to the Government, but, unfortunately, they were rejected by its radical leadership.
In these circumstances, the announced sectoral sanctions against Venezuela's financial and oil sectors are clearly aimed at further unbalancing the situation in the country, and exacerbating its economic problems. They embolden the irreconcilables who do not see how they can realise their political potential without removing the Venezuelan leaders fr om office.
The actions of the people behind the sanctions are steeped in cynicism. As follows from US official statements, the administration is exploring options for further tightening its policy, including the potential use of force against Venezuela only "in case of deterioration of the situation" in this South American country. Hence, the question: what are the current US sanctions designed to achieve? Are they supposed to benefit the Venezuelan economy? Clearly, the very logic of sanctions implies further increasing tensions.
We have on many occasions mentioned the danger of the domestic political confrontation in Venezuela reaching a level wh ere it will jeopardise the existence of the Venezuelan state. Provoking and encouraging from the outside the destabilisation of the domestic political situation cannot benefit ordinary Venezuelans, no matter what political views they may have. Exactly the opposite is needed: ​​facilitating a dialogue between all the country’s leading political forces, which would create conditions for redressing the economic situation. Political assistance from outside is of paramount importance for this issue to be resolved.
We are willing to contribute to a settlement in Venezuela inasmuch as it is required given the internal political dynamics in that country. We believe there is no alternative to peaceful responsible talks in the proper legal framework and without outside interference. Everything that goes beyond this framework is aimed at undermining the constitutional order in Venezuela and leading to new deprivations for its citizens.
We will carefully analyse the implications of the sanctions imposed by the United States, and their possible effect on the interests of Russia and Russian businesses. We can already say that they will not affect our willingness to expand and strengthen cooperation with the friendly nation of Venezuela and its people.