UNITED NATIONS – Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Monday that US President Donald Trump “has nothing to say about Venezuela.”
“Only we Venezuelans – exclusively – may speak about Venezuela,” said Arreaza when asked about a meeting Trump was scheduled to hold on Monday with several Latin American leaders to discuss the situation in his country.
“Let them meet to talk about their bilateral relations, about the walls he wants to build in the world, about the wars he wants to unleash in the world,” said the minister in remarks to reporters.
Trump was scheduled to have dinner with several top officials from various Latin American nations.
All of the officials, including Arreaza, are in New York to participate in the United Nations General Assembly, which officially begins on Tuesday.
The Venezuelan foreign minister on Monday took part in a meeting of foreign ministers belonging to member nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), where they discussed the possibility of suspending or postponing the bloc’s summit with the European Union scheduled for October in El Salvador.
Several CELAC members have asked for such a move given the divisions within the organization resulting from the Venezuelan crisis.
The foreign ministers of the so-called Lima Group, a dozen countries in the hemisphere who are critical of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, are scheduled to meet in New York on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of postponing the EU-CELAC summit.
Meanwhile, Trump on Monday urged Venezuela’s “dictatorship” to fully restore democracy and political liberties at the beginning of his meeting with several Latin American leaders – whom he characterized as some of Washington’s “best allies” in the region – to discuss the crisis in that country.
Trump said that the current situation in Venezuela is “unsustainable” and has brought only “misery” and “suffering” to Venezuelans, and he noted that his administration had imposed sanctions on Caracas and is prepared to take additional measures, although he refused to say if that included military action.
The meeting, held at a New York hotel, included Brazilian President Michel Temer, along with Colombian leader Juan Manuel Santos, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and Argentine Vice President Gabriela Michetti.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had been scheduled to attend the meeting but had to cancel his trip to New York at the last minute due to current political tensions in Peru.