Boris Johnson held unofficial talks with Venezuela president: Report

Former prime minister Boris Johnson (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

By:
Shajil Kumar

Former prime minister Boris Johnson flew to Venezuela in February for unofficial talks with its President Nicolás Maduro, The Times reports.

Johnson spoke to the Venezuelan president about the war in Ukraine, amid concerns that the South American nation could supply weapons or military support to Russia.

Venezuela has been a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and blamed the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Nato.

The former prime minister reportedly went to Venezuela during a family holiday in the nearby Dominican Republic.

Johnson’s office told the daily that foreign secretary David Cameron was aware of the visit.

A foreign office source told the daily that Johnson notified Cameron of the summit.

The BBC said the talks were unofficial and not paid for by the UK government.

Maduro has been in power since 2013 and the UK has not posted an ambassador in its Caracas embassy during his tenure. Charge d’affaires Colin Dick heads the embassy.

During the talks, Johnson reportedly made it clear there could be no hope of normalisation in relations until Venezuela embraces democracy.

Venezuela will hold presidential elections on July 28 and Maduro is expected to seek re-election.

He won his second term in 2018, but serious doubts were raised about the fairness of the election process.

Maduro has been drawing flak for jailing many political opponents and activists to stifle dissent.

The UK, along with the US, the EU, and Canada want Venezuela to restore democracy.

The South American nation has the world’s largest oil reserves.