Venezuela asks UN to say US can’t invoke treaty to use force

EDITH M. LEDERER
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Venezuela Political Crisis

Backdropped by a painting of independence leader Simon Bolivar, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gives a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. Maduro denied the accusation by the Colombian president that the guerrilla group ELN was operating with the Venezuelan government's support inside Venezuelan territory, answered questions about his recent trip to Russia and about a possible return to the negotiation table with the opposition. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Venezuela is asking the U.N. Security Council to affirm that the United States and 10 other countries have no authority to use force against the South American nation by invoking the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance Treaty.

Venezuela's U.N. ambassador, Samuel Moncada, claimed in a letter to the council circulated Wednesday that the 1947 treaty is being used "as a tool" to implement the naval blockade threatened by President Donald Trump on Aug. 1.

He pointed to a decision on Sept. 11 by 11 countries in the Americas _ Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic _ to convene a treaty meeting on grounds that the current situation in Venezuela has a “destabilizing impact” and poses a “threat to peace and security in the hemisphere.”

Moncada said there is no regional threat from Venezuela. He said the real aim of the U.S. and other countries in threatening the use of force is to overthrow the legitimate constitutional government of President Nicolas Maduro. The United States and about 50 other countries recognize National Assembly speaker Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's president.

Moncada said the provisions of the inter-American treaty, which Venezuela pulled out of in 2013, state that the U.N. Charter takes precedence and that the use or threat of force must be authorized by the Security Council.

"The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has shown itself to be a lover and guarantor of peace," he said. "Therefore, we are warning against the aggression being planned, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and to the detriment of the powers and responsibilities of the Security Council."

"For this reason, we call on the Security Council to affirm its authority in the case of the illegal manipulation of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance as an excuse to use force against Venezuela, when our country is not even a party to that treaty," Moncada said.

He said the Security Council should also "acknowledge publicly that Venezuela poses no threat to international peace and security."

In a direct reference to the United States, Moncada said that "resolving disputes through military action only benefits the most powerful country in the continent, which historically has used force abusively against its neighbors."