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US seeks USD 10 bn trade finance fund for Venezuela: Mnuchin

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 14, 2019  | 02:22 IST

Washington, Apr 14 (AFP) The United States is working with a group of countries to build a USD 10 billion fund to help Venezuela rebuild trade once a new government is in place, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said. The United States has joined dozens of other countries in recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president but embattled President Nicolas Maduro remains in power. Mnuchin said Saturday that, during the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, officials had discussed how to aid in the Caribbean country's recovery. But those institutions must sit on the sidelines until there is clear international recognition of a government in Caracas and a way to put funds into use in the country which has seen its economy collapse, while people are fleeing because they cannot get basic food and medicines. "Every single time I've had one of these meetings I can't believe how much worse it gets on the ground for the people of Venezuela. This is a humanitarian crisis," Mnuchin said. In addition to the potential for financing from the IMF and World Bank, he hosted a meeting on Thursday of the friends of Venezuela, which includes many Latin American and European countries, as well as Japan, where ministers also discussed the need for the oil exporting power to restore trade. "We're going to be working on trying to put together a consortium of about USD 10 billion of trade finance that would be available for the new government to spark trade," Mnuchin said. About 3.7 million refugees have fled the worsening crisis in Venezuela in recent years - a third to neighboring Colombia - the most dramatic and fastest exodus in the world after war-torn Syria, according to the United Nations. That figure could reach five million by the end of the year. (AFP) MRJ

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