Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will participate in an international conference dealing with the situation in Venezuela on 6 August in Lima, Peru.
The meeting will be attended by foreign ministers from around the world, particularly from the Latin American countries, the Caribbean and North America. During his visit, Haavisto will also meet for bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of several Latin American countries.
“Finland supports working closely with countries in the area to resolve the situation in Venezuela. The activities of the EU-led international contact group play an integral role in this work. The work of the Lima Group, a regional bloc made up of countries in the Americas, is also vital. Finland supports all efforts to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the Venezuela crisis,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto.
Situation still "tense"
The political crisis in Venezuela reached a breaking point at the start of 2019, when President Nicolás Maduro began his disputed second term while National Assembly President Juan Guaidó declared himself acting President. "Despite many international negotiation attempts, the situation has not yet been resolved and remains tense", the Finnish Government points out.
The worsening humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, which has been compounded by recent blackouts, is a shared concern of the EU Member States. According to the UN, nearly seven million people, or 25% of the country’s population, are in need of humanitarian aid, the Finnish Government remarked. Since last year, the EU has allocated a total of 117.6 million euros for crisis management in Venezuela and its neighbouring countries.
Venezuelans fleeing the country
The information released by the Ministry for foreign Affairs also remarks that "since 2014, more than four million Venezuelans have fled the country". The effects of this migration are wide-ranging, as the UN estimates that Venezuelans have fled to more than 20 countries. This is the largest wave of migration in Latin American history, and it is leading to instability throughout the area.
The effects are most significant in neighbouring Colombia, where more than 1.3 million Venezuelans have fled, in the other Andean countries Peru, Chile and Ecuador, and elsewhere in South America and the Caribbean.
The Finnish Government considers the Lima conference "a good opportunity for Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to meet with foreign ministers from countries in the area to discuss solutions to the Venezuela crisis and possibilities to deepen the EU’s and Finland’s cooperation with Latin America in promoting human rights, democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development".
The Venezuela conference is being organised by Peru, one of the founding members of the Lima Group. According to the press release by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, "the Lima Group is working to restore democracy in Venezuela". It is made up of 13 Latin American and Caribbean countries and Canada.