More than a month after Switzerland agreed to be the caretaker of U.S. embassy interests in Venezuela, the arrangement is still not operational, CNN informs.
Washington and Berne signed a protecting powers agreement in early April. Once it is operational, the Swiss will be able to provide consular services to Americans in Venezuela.
However, Swiss Embassy spokesperson Andreas Ledergerber told CNN on Wednesday that the agreement has still not entered into force. “In order for the arrangement to become operational, it needs to be formally accepted (by diplomatic note) by Venezuela. This has not happened yet,” he said.
CNN has reached out to the Maduro government for comment. The U.S. does not recognize Nicolas Maduro’s government as legitimate. Washington has been without a diplomatic presence in Venezuela since mid-March, when the State Department ordered its remaining personnel to leave Caracas amid the ongoing political crisis.
The State Department has urged American citizens to leave the country and has raised its advisory to the highest level — Level Four: Do Not Travel. At the time the agreement was signed, the State Department noted that until the agreement was operational, “U.S. citizens in Venezuela who require emergency assistance should continue to visit the nearest US embassy or consulate in another country.”
The U.S. has agreements with nations to serve as protecting powers in countries with which it does not have diplomatic relations. The Czech Republic is its protecting power in Syria, the Swedish are the protecting power in North Korea and the Swiss are in Iran, CNN notes.