21:12 GMT18 May 2021
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    MADRID (Sputnik) - The work of the International Contact Group (ICG) on facilitating crisis settlement in Venezuela is proceeding at a very slow pace, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Monday.

    "Nicolas Maduro has made a statement on the Montevideo mechanism, the group of Uruguay and Mexico. Perhaps, there is some progress. Meanwhile, the working group [ICG] operates very slowly, too slowly. Europe does not feel the urgency [to resolve crisis in Venezuela], while there is such urgency. We will see how this work can be accelerated. The next meeting will not take place soon. We need to move on faster," Borrell told reporters ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called late on Saturday on Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and the Caribbean countries — the initiators of the Montevideo mechanism on Venezuelan crisis settlement — to contribute to the promotion of national dialogue in the country.

    READ MORE: Sanctions Smanctions: Iranian Airline Defies US, Starts Flights to Venezuela

    The ICG, comprised of eight EU member states and four Latin American countries, was formed in order to facilitate the settlement of the political and economic crises in Venezuela. The ICG held its first meeting in Montevideo on February 7. The group aims to create conditions for a peaceful process that will enable Venezuelans to define their future via free transparent elections, held in compliance with the country's constitution. The third meeting of the ICG is expected to take place in Costa Rica in early May.

    READ MORE: Venezuelan Top Diplomat Praises ‘Sincere' Montevideo Peace Mechanism

    Meanwhile, the Department of State said in a press release that US Special Representative Eliot Abrams will visit Spain and Portugal this week to discuss the escalating crisis in Venezuela with senior government officials in both countries.

    "Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams will meet with Portuguese and Spanish officials in Lisbon and Madrid April 9-11 to discuss the deteriorating situation in Venezuela," the note said. "The United States, Portugal, and Spain support a Venezuelan-led transition toward free and fair elections."

    Venezuela has been going through an acute political crisis since January, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president of Venezuela after disputing Maduro's re-election in May. Washington immediately endorsed Guaido and called on Maduro to step down.

    Maduro has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup. Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia, Turkey and a number of other countries have voiced their support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

    READ MORE: 'We Will Be Invisible Again': Venezuelans Tell Sputnik WHY They Support Maduro

    crisis settlement, International Contact Group (ICG) on Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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