Spanish foreign minister asks Maduro to treat relations with Spain with respect

González Laya, during his stay in Colombia, has visited several health care centres and a shelter for migrant minors
Atalayar_Arancha González Laya

AFP/JAVIER SORIANO  -   Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya

Spain's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, said on Saturday that she asks for the same respect that she offers, referring to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's decision to put "the entire relationship" with Spain under review.

"I have absolutely no interpretation whatsoever to make of his statements. All I ask for is the same respect that I offer, no more and no less," the minister told Spanish media in Bogotá after returning from a visit to the Colombian city of Cúcuta.

González Laya, who arrived in Colombia on an official visit last Thursday, was in Cúcuta on Saturday, the main border crossing with Venezuela, to learn about the reality of migrants leaving the oil-producing country to escape the crisis.

Maduro, who last Wednesday ordered the expulsion of the European Union ambassador in Caracas, the Portuguese Isabel Brilhante, reacted today with a warning to the minister's visit to Cúcuta.

"We are going to thoroughly review the entire relationship with Spain, at all levels, enough of aggressions", said the president during his participation in the Bicentennial Congress of the Peoples, adding that they will "respond forcefully to any aggression that comes, be it in word, be it in action, be it diplomatic, be it political".

Atalayar_Nicolás Maduro
AFP/YURI CORTEZ - Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro

However, the minister downplayed these comments and defended her visit to Cúcuta as a normal part of her trip to Colombia to see cooperation programmes for migrants financed by Spain.

"I have visited Colombia, I have visited a series of projects financed by Spanish cooperation and I have done so with respect for this country and all its neighbours, and the same respect that I preach is the same respect that I demand, no more and no less", she stressed.

During his stay in Cúcuta, González Laya today visited several health care centres and a shelter for migrant minors, before approaching the Simón Bolívar international bridge, the main land point for the passage of migrants and tourists.

"I felt the value of solidarity, the value of recognising migrants as human beings who need to be treated with the dignity with which we all want to be treated," he summed up in statements to the press before leaving Cúcuta, capital of the Colombian department of Norte de Santander.