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AFP
September 10, 2019

EU becoming ‘resort’ for Venezuela regime: US envoy

World

AFP
September 10, 2019

BRUSSELS: The US pointman on Venezuela on Monday accused the EU of dragging its feet over sanctions, saying Europe was becoming a playground for President Nicolas Maduro’s cadres and their mistresses and children.

Elliott Abrams, US special representative on Venezuela, said the EU’s reluctance to sanction more members of the Venezuelan regime was "unhelpful". He criticised the bloc’s incoming foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell for accusing Washington of behaving like a "cowboy" in the crisis-wracked South American state.

The EU currently has asset freezes and travel bans in place against 18 Venezuelan ministers and officials but Abrams said the bloc needed to do more to put pressure on Maduro and his associates.

"A far greater number of people from the regime are now using Europe as a kind of resort area," Abrams told reporters in Brussels, where he was due meet EU officials. "They send their families here, their wives, their mistresses, their children. Their bank accounts are here. We have repeated information about the mansions they buy, the nightclubbing of their teenage children. That should not be happening."

Abrams said the EU’s refusal to countenance further sanctions while talks were going on between Maduro’s government and the opposition was a "miscalculation". "On the question of sanctions we do think the reluctance of the part of the EU has been unhelpful to the process of negotiations," he said, arguing that "only pressure" could persuade Maduro to negotiate seriously.

Borrell, the Spanish foreign minister who will take over as EU diplomatic lead in November, accused the US of acting like "a cowboy" in May for its implicit threat of military intervention in Venezuela. "We reject the term ‘cowboy diplomacy’ completely and thought it was an unhelpful remark," Abrams said.

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