EU Countries Endorse Venezuela's Opposition Leader

EU Countries Endorse Venezuela's Opposition Leader

EU Countries Endorse Venezuela's Opposition Leader

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

Guaido has won backing from the United States, European powers including France, Germany and Spain, Canada, Australia and a dozen Latin American countries to take over the leadership, but Russian Federation and China continue to support Maduro.

He has said he is only willing to call new elections to the opposition-held National Assembly.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels after a meeting of European Union foreign affairs ministers, top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini said that "the EU and its member states never recognised as legitimate the presidential elections that were held a year ago [in Venezuela]".

Sanchez said he wanted Spain to spearhead a plan of humanitarian aid for Venezuela in the European Union and United Nations.

But David Lipton, the No. 2 at the International Monetary Fund, called Venezuela's economic crisis - marked by widespread food shortages, protracted hyperinflation and the loss of human capital through emigration - an "unprecedented economic storm" that will required generous, broad-based international support to overcome.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was an additional significant voice to say his country was backing Guaido.

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

"We aren't going to hand Venezuela over", said the Venezuelan president.

"We know that the people of Venezuela are facing tremendous hardship and they need our help, as do the countries that have taken in those fleeing violence", Trudeau said.

In an interview with Corriere Della Sera newspaper on Monday, Mr Guaido said he "will do whatever it takes" to persuade Italy to join the position of other European Union nations.

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"Faced with President Maduro's refusal to organize presidential elections which would clarify, calm the situation in Venezuela. we consider that Mr. Guaido has the capacity and legitimacy to organize these elections".

"We don't accept ultimatums from anyone", Maduro said in a defiant interview with Spanish television channel La Sexta carried out last week and broadcast on Sunday.

Last week, the EU's top diplomat sounded a warning about the outlook for Venezuela amid the political standoff in the country.

The global split over Venezuela has left the United Nations in a quandary and Guterres' comments suggested that the world body would remain on the sidelines for now.

Turning to Washington's role in the Venezuelan crisis, Maduro claimed that "the military option is on (U.S. President) Donald Trump's table".

"The United States wants to return to the 20th century of military coups, subordinate puppet governments and the looting of resources", he said.

Maduro said Monday he has written to Pope Francis asking for help in fostering dialogue. "I hope to receive a positive response", he said.

But its statement was more measured than that of CUPE, focusing on calling for the government to "promote dialogue to foster a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan crisis".

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.

"I sent a letter to Pope Francis", Maduro told Italy's SkyTG24 television in an interview broadcast on Monday, with opposition leader Juan Guaido gaining more worldwide support. It aims to address the crisis in Venezuela and is due to hold its first meeting in Uruguay on Thursday.

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