The EU Mission meets with the Defense Minister and the Supreme Court of Venezuela.

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The EU Mission meets with the Defense Minister and the Supreme Court of Venezuela.

At a time when the opposition is seeking the release of a prominent leader accused of terrorism and treason, European Union election specialists met with Venezuela’s defense minister and Supreme Court president on Wednesday.

Following President Nicolas Maduro’s invitation, EU representatives came in Venezuela a week ago to investigate the prospect of sending a delegation to watch mayoral and gubernatorial elections in November.

On the eve of the next mega-elections in Venezuela, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino tweeted, “Enjoyable meeting with the European Union’s Electoral Exploratory Mission.”

“We reaffirmed our democratic commitment and the critical role of the (military forces) in maintaining peace.”

Despite opposition pressure and international sanctions, Venezuela’s armed forces are the major source of support for Maduro’s continuing hold on power.

The EU team had already met with the Supreme Court’s leadership.

In a statement made by the organization, which is dominated by Maduro loyalists, court president Maikel Moreno stated, “Our goal is peace and respect for the will of the people.”

AFP has reached out to the EU for comment on the meetings, but has yet to get a response.

It’s unclear if the arrest on Monday of opposition politician Freddy Guevara, who was a member of an opposition group that met with the EU team last week, was discussed.

Guevara, a 35-year-old former student leader, was intercepted by intelligence officers on a Caracas highway and posted on social media from inside his car.

He is a close associate of opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as Venezuela’s leader by the US and numerous other countries.

Despite arrangements for the opposition to meet with the administration for stalled peace talks to end the country’s political crisis, Guevara was arrested.

On Monday, Maduro stated that the negotiations, which will take place in Mexico, will only take place if international sanctions are withdrawn and he is safeguarded from any plans to destabilize him.

After widespread claims of irregularities in Maduro’s 2018 election, most European and Latin American countries, as well as the United States, believe he is illegitimate.

The EU considers the 2015 parliamentary elections, in which the opposition won control of the assembly, to be the last time “Venezuelans were allowed to express themselves freely in an electoral process.”

Last year, the opposition lost control of the legislature after boycotting an election that it claimed was neither free nor fair.

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