EU nations support Venezuela's Guaido as anti-Maduro bloc grows

Feb 05, 2019, 01:11
EU nations support Venezuela's Guaido as anti-Maduro bloc grows

Trudeau spoke on Sunday to Guaido and the two "discussed the importance of the global community sending a clear message regarding the illegitimacy of the Maduro regime", Trudeau's office said.

"So UK alongside European allies now recognises Juan Guaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held".

"I think we are at a very critical point in the history of Venezuela", said Alan Duncan, Britain's junior foreign minister, among a number of European representatives attending the Lima Group meeting.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said the election that brought Maduro to power was neither free nor fair and told Swedish broadcaster SVT on Monday that Venezuelans "now must get new, free and fair elections instead".

"They are trying to corner us with ultimatums to force us into an extreme situation of confrontation", Maduro said. Those who continue to violate the human rights of ordinary Venezuelans under an illegitimate regime will be called to account.

All eyes are now on Venezuela's military, which has so far been Maduro's main pillar of support, but there have been signs of wavering in the ranks.

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However, he supported plans for a meeting of Latin American and European Union states in a "Contact Group" meeting in Montevideo next Thursday. However, according to diplomatic sources in Brussels, Italy has blocked an EU-wide statement of the bloc's support for Guaido due to conflicting interests within the Italian coalition government. In a statement, it accused them of submitting to a US "strategy to overthrow the legitimate government" and singled out Spain for acting "cowardly".

"They use sledgehammers instead of boxing gloves", President Maduro said, accusing the USA of seeking his removal so that it could take control of Venezuela's vast oil reserves.

The EU nations had attempted to pressure Mr.

Maduro and Guaido have been battling for legitimacy in a struggle that has drawn in the world's major powers on one side or the other.

Among them, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, and the Netherlands all acknowledged Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.

On Monday, Maduro said he had written to Pope Francis, urging him to play a mediating role. Uruguay's central bank and the office of the country's president did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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The US president has ruled out any negotiations while maintaining that sending the US military to Venezuela was "an option".

Over the weekend, he called on the army to allow in humanitarian aid from the United States via neighboring Colombia and Brazil.

He noted that "free peoples and governments" demanded dialogue for peace in Venezuela.

"Soldiers of the fatherland: We need the humanitarian aid to come, for your mother, your sister and all your family", Guaido said at a news conference at the National Assembly to thank the European governments for their support.

While U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said last week that boxes of USAID branded baby formula and supplies for malnourished children are being readied to deploy to Venezuela, it's not clear how they can safely enter.

Maduro, for his part, stood defiant, accusing the United States of preparing a coup in the South American country and rejecting a US -backed effort to send emergency food and medicine into his country.

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