United Nations calls on Venezuelan parties to lower tensions

UN stands by effort to encourage dialogue in Venezuela

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United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers remarks to the press at the United Nations Headquarters on Dec. 6 in New York City. 

CARACAS, Venezuela - The United Nations says it learned "with concern" about reports that Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido's chief of staff has been detained, and it renewed a call for all parties "to lower tensions and refrain from any action that could lead to further escalation."

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq issued the appeal Thursday at U.N. headquarters in New York after being asked about Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' reaction to the detention of Roberto Marrero, a key Guaido aide who was detained overnight by Venezuelan intelligence agents.

He noted that U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet also expressed concern at Marrero's detention.

Haq said the United Nations still believes a dialogue between Guaido and President Nicolas Maduro "is crucial to help the parties step back from the brink of heightened escalation."

"No one wants to see the society fall apart in any way, and it's crucial therefore that the leaders engage in dialogue with each other," Haq said. "We have called, of course, on all parties including the security forces to take steps to de-escalate the situation and we are continuing with that call."


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