Venezuela, Spain to Normalize Diplomatic Ties as EU Threatens Fresh Sanctions

The two nations are reinstating their ambassadors "in order to restore channels of diplomatic dialogue, within the framework of mutual respect and international law."

Maduro and Flores Caracas

Venezuela and Spain have agreed to begin the process of normalizing their diplomatic relations, Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry says, reinstating their ambassadors “in order to restore channels of diplomatic dialogue, within the framework of mutual respect and international law.”

“The Kingdom of Spain through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through the Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs, have agreed to begin a process of normalization of diplomatic relations for the benefit of its citizens, who are united by close links that must be preserved,” a statement by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

“To this end, they have agreed today on the return of their ambassadors in the coming days, in order to restore channels of diplomatic dialogue between the two governments, within the framework of mutual respect and international law.”

Last week, Spanish and Venezuelan officials met in Madrid and expressed their willingness to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said the meeting, organized at his request, would only yield positive results if the parties move forward on the basis of mutual respect.

The Venezuelan government has in the past rejected the harsh stance taken by the Spanish government on Maduro’s administration, which has led to a diplomatic crisis further aggravated by the recent EU sanctions imposed on the Bolivarian government.

Venezuela expelled the Spanish ambassador in January 2018 after the EU imposed sanctions on high-ranking officials, which was followed by the expulsion of Venezuela’s ambassador to Spain by Mariano Rajoy’s government.

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini once again threatened fresh sanctions against Caracas this Thursday.

“The European Union will monitor closely the electoral process and related developments on the ground and stands ready to react through appropriate measures,” she stated, citing alleged infractions against “democracy”, “the rule of law”, “human rights”, as well as insufficient “conditions for a credible and inclusive electoral process” as grounds for such possible action.
Despite objections from leftist MEPs, the European Union approved a controversial arms embargo against Venezuela in November 2017 and sanctioned seven leading Venezuelan officials in January of this year.
These sanctions have followed those from the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and most recently Panama in attempting to isolate the Caribbean nation. Caracas has itself imposed restrictions on Panamanian firms in retaliation.
Edited and with additional reporting by