06:34 GMT +320 March 2019
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    Venezuelan security forces stand guard at the border town of Ureña after Maduro´s government ordered to temporary close down the border with Colombia on February 23, 2019.

    Mexico Calls on All Sides to Venezuelan Crisis to Reject Using Force

    © AFP 2018 / JUAN BARRETO
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    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Mexico is calling on all sides to the Venezuelan crisis, including the external ones, to abstain from using force and to seek peaceful settlement instead, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a communique on Tuesday.

    "The Government of Mexico deplores the violent clashes that erupted along the Venezuelan border on Saturday, February 23. Mexico again calls on all of the parties involved, both domestic and foreign, to categorically reject the use of force and to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Venezuela," the communique read.

    READ MORE: Guaido Plans to Return to Venezuela From Colombia This Week — Reports

    The ministry praised the so-called Montevideo mechanism, which Mexico, Uruguay and the Caribbean Community proposed earlier in February to facilitate the peace process in Venezuela, as an option able to evolve into a strategic road map.

    "Mexico reiterates its willingness to support and develop an effective diplomatic mechanism designed for the peaceful resolution of conflicts," the communique read on.

    The Montevideo mechanism envisages four stages: the immediate launch of a dialogue on the situation in Venezuela, the negotiation process, the drafting of an agreement and its implementation.

    Later in the day, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated this stance, saying that Mexico was ready to become a host for the dialogue between the sides.

    "Mexico has always been able to help in the implementation of dialogue in order to achieve peace in any country. The doors on our territory are open to dialogue," Obrador told a press conference in Mexico City.

    The statements come shortly after the Lima Group meeting's participants on Monday asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to make an assessment of the situation in crisis-torn Venezuela, proposing that Venezuela's partners help organise "free elections" in the country.

    On 23 February, a truck with US aid caught fire during a failed attempt by alleged opposition protesters to cross the closed Colombia-Venezuela border on the Francisco de Paula Santander Bridge.

    Attempts to bring unauthorised aid into Venezuela, which was slammed by President Maduro as a ploy to oust him from power, led to clashes between Venezuelan police and protesters, prompting Caracas to sever diplomatic relations with neighbouring Colombia.

    This past month has seen Venezuela going through a political crisis. It started on January 5, when lawmaker Juan Guaido was elected as the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, which all other branches of power have been refusing to recognized since 2016. On January 23, shortly after the Venezuelan Supreme Court annulled his election, Guaido declared himself the country's "interim president." Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in for his second term on January 10 after winning the May election, which part of the opposition boycotted, qualified Guaido's move as an attempted coup and accused Washington of staging it.

    Related:

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    crisis, protests, Mexico, Venezuela
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