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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Feb. 16, 2022: The United States along with 19 countries and the European Union, met yesterday, February 15th, to reaffirm their commitment to a Venezuelan-led negotiated solution to restore democracy in Venezuela.

The participants discussed the need for free and fair presidential elections as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained; the independence of the judiciary.

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom along with the US, also called for the right of political parties and individuals to participate in the political process with no restraints and the independence of electoral authorities.

The urged for equality and inclusivity to ensure, among other things, full and equal participation of women in social, economic, and political life; the right to freedom of expression, including for members of the media; and an end to human rights violations as among the most fundamental conditions necessary for democratic institutions to flourish in Venezuela.

The participants also welcomed the EU Election Observation Mission’s work and the importance of the comprehensive and incremental dialogue and negotiation framework launched on August 13, 2021, in Mexico City, as important steps to shape a common understanding of conditions needed to foster credible, inclusive, and transparent legislative and presidential elections – the latter at the latest in 2024 – and to confirm their support for an inclusive, diverse, and unified democratic opposition in Venezuela.

They further discussed the importance of urgently resuming inclusive negotiations in Mexico in good faith, in the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Mexico City.

All gathered stressed the need for agreement on an independent and impartial electoral body, with ultimate authority over the electoral process, and for an independent and impartial justice system, acting solely as a guarantor of political liberties, as crucial conditions for a free and fair electoral process by 2024.

Participants also reiterated their willingness to review sanctions policies based on meaningful progress in the framework of these Venezuela-led negotiations and committed to supporting the Venezuelan people and to addressing Venezuela’s dire humanitarian situation, while welcoming further agreement among all political actors in Venezuela to allow for unfettered and transparent access to humanitarian assistance, to include food, medicine, vaccines, and other critical COVID-19 relief supplies.

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