01:28 GMT +322 August 2019
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    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (C) waves the national flag during a pro-government march in Caracas, on February 23, 2019.

    Nebenzia Urges US to Recognise Venezuela’s Right to Be ‘Master of Its Fate’

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    The Russian representative blasted Washington for deliberately shattering the situation in Venezuela, while criticising the UN Security Council for relying too much on information provided by third parties.

    Speaking at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Venezuela Wednesday, Russian Representative Vassily Nebenzia urged Washington to recognise "the right of Venezuelans and of other nations to be masters of their fate".

    "If you want to ‘make America great again', wherein all of us have a genuine interest, then stop interfering in the internal affairs of others", he said. "You will be respected for that".

    He then referred to the alleged Russian meddling scandal that rattled the US for two and a half years following the surprising victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election.

    "You do not like others to interfere in your affairs, do you? No one does", Nebenzia said.

    He also criticised the Security Council for making assessments on Venezuela based only on information provided by opposition leader Juan Guaido and his associates.

    "When was the last time any of you visited Venezuela?" Nebenzia said, commenting on US Vice President Mike Pence's speech. "You study the situation remotely, you proceed from the assumption that ‘president' Guaido is the only legitimate authority in the country and the only source of information about what is going on there".

    He pointed out that situation in Venezuela bears similarities to previous regime change scenarios, all based on testimonies provided by people residing in Western countries.

    "We have been over this already in many other regions of the world", Nebenzia said. "'Eye-witnesses' residing in the West told us bone-chilling stories about the sufferings of the nations of Iraq, Libya, Syria. The effect of those stories was that after interference by the West, those countries had to undergo real suffering that has not stopped even now".

    He pointed out that United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) collected data and published its report without the consent of Venezuela's legitimate government. According to Nebenzia, assessment of needs is an inalienable part of preparing a humanitarian aid operation; however, such an assessment can only be done upon approval of the legitimate authorities. Failing to secure this approval is to undermine the key provision of UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, he said.

    "Thus we seem to be getting back to the ‘not that glorious' time when OCHA was used to disseminate unverified data, don't we?" the representative asked. "I hope this is not so".

    Nebenzia blasted Washington directly for its actions against the Venezuelan people, who are dealing with a severe humanitarian crisis. He accused the White House of strangling Venezuelans with sanctions, while simultaneously robbing them by expropriating Venezuelan assets in Western banks.

    "Since the beginning of this year alone, you have seized over $30 billion of Venezuela's funds and proclaimed that only impostor Guaido can manage it. The overall damage caused by the US to Venezuela's economy since 2013 is estimated in the hundreds of billions USD", he pointed out.

    "The US is persistently shattering the situation in Venezuela. It deliberately provokes crisis around this country in order to change a legitimately elected leader for a US protégé", he added.

    According to Nebenzia, Caracas is ready to accept humanitarian aid if it is offered through a legitimate process and approved by the national government.

    "Caracas does not reject humanitarian assistance that is offered in accordance with the UN-endorsed principles. Russia and a number of other countries provided aid via the WHO", he said, pointing out that US attempts to push alleged humanitarian aid through neighbouring countries had not been authorised by Caracas.

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    statement, humanitarian aid, speech, sanctions, UN Security Council, Vassily Nebenzia, United States, Russia, Venezuela
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