Bulgaria Recognizes Juan Guaido as Interim President of Venezuela
Sofia, February 5 (BTA) - The Security Council with Bulgaria's Government held an extraordinary meeting here on Tuesday in connection with the situation in Venezuela, the Government Information Office said.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov presided over the Council, which included Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, representatives of the security services and of the Bulgarian President.
The Council issued a position according to which Bulgaria expresses support for its partners in the EU and the international community, who
recognize the President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, as interim president in view of an early holding of democratic elections for the peaceful resolution of the crisis, preventing a humanitarian catastrophe, deterring the further escalation of tension and possible mass violence in the country, the press release said.
Bulgaria thus became the 17th EU Member State, after Spain, Germany, France, Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal, which have endorsed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president.
"The Republic of Bulgaria expresses its solidarity with all citizens of Venezuela, as well as with the citizens of the EU Member States who reside there. These are over 1 million people, mostly from Spain and Portugal. These countries are Bulgaria's reliable partners, of which there are plenty of examples, the most recent one being their support for the Bulgarian position concerning the protection of Bulgarian road hauliers and workers in the transport sector," the Security Council's position reads.
The document was supported by all members of the Council except the representatives of the President, the press release said.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry also issued a position later on Monday on the political crisis in Venezuela, in which the Ministry expresses its belief that the Venezuelan people must be granted the right to determine their future on their own, based on the principles of a democratic state governed by the rule of law.
The Ministry believes that National Assembly President Juan Guaido will schedule free, fair and democratic presidential elections in accordance with the Constitution while serving as Venezuela's interim president. The Ministry has initiated the coordination of a draft resolution in support of the transition to a democratic government in Venezuela, based on the rule of law and observing human rights, the Ministry's position concludes.
Later in the day, President Rumen Radev issued a position noting that the proposed common European position does not lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Venezuela. "I think Bulgaria should refrain from supporting the proposed EU position," Radev's position said.
On January 26, 2019, the EU called for the urgent conduct of free, transparent and fair presidential elections in Venezuela. The Member States noted that if the organization of new elections is not declared within the next days, they will take action, including on the matter of recognizing the country's leadership in accordance with Article 233 of the Venezuelan Constitution. In a resolution, adopted 439-104 with 88 abstentions, the European Parliament declared its full support for the National Assembly as Venezuela's only legitimate democratic body and recognized Juan Guaido as a legitimate interim president in accordance with the Venezuelan Constitution.
Nicolas Maduro, who was elected in 2018 in a vote declared illegitimate by the EU, US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia and other Latin American countries, has already stated that he will not take into consideration the demands for organizing new and transparent presidential elections.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry expresses its belief that National Assembly President Juan Guaido will schedule free, fair and democratic presidential elections in accordance with the Constitution while serving as Venezuela's interim president. The Ministry has initiated the coordination of a draft resolution in support of the transition to a democratic government in Venezuela, based on the rule of law and observing human rights, the Ministry's position concludes.
At a news briefing on Tuesday, the GERB Parliamentary Group backed the Bulgarian Government's position on Venezuela. "In our opinion, President Rumen Radev made a political blunder by a position impairing this country's prestige because we are in the first place a European State," MP Toma Bikov argued. He noted that, at the same time, the BSP is unable to assume a clear European position.
In a statement about the situation in Venezuela, opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Kornelia Ninova urged for non-interference in the internal affairs of a third country, for applying international law and maintaining a dialogue between the power-holders and opposition in Venezuela for finding a peaceful solution to the situation in the country.
Ninova said that the EU cannot have a common position on the issue; instead, each Member State should decide. RY, LI/MY, ZH, LG