Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

United Nations will not join any group on Venezuela crisis talks: Guterres

United Nations will not join any group on Venezuela crisis talks: Guterres

The Venezuelan government has emphatically rejected European Union member states' decision to back opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, saying Caracas will now revise its relationship with these countries.

The recognition by France, Spain, Germany, Britain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Lithuania came after the expiration of an eight-day ultimatum for Maduro to call a new election.

Italy's 5-Star Movement, which makes up half of the ruling coalition, dissented from the European stance, saying it would never recognise self-appointed leaders.

"From today, we will spare no effort in helping all Venezuelans achieve freedom, prosperity and harmony", Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said, urging both fair elections and humanitarian aid.

Since then, he has been courting the global community - including Maduro's staunchest supporters, Russian Federation and China - as well as Venezuela's military leaders.

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.

The challenge for participants is that Mexico, a member of the Lima Group, opposes any measures to oust Maduro, who also has the backing of Russia, China and Turkey.

"The oppression of the illegitimate, kleptocratic Maduro regime must end", he said.

Mr Guaido, who leads the National Assembly, declared himself caretaker leader last month in a move splitting global powers and bringing Venezuelans onto the streets.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro warned US President Donald Trump he risked having "a repeat of Vietnam in Latin America" if he sent US troops to help settle a political crisis in the country. Trump, in an interview that aired on Sunday, said military intervention in Venezuela was "an option".

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was available to facilitate negotiations between the rival sides in Venezuela.

A group of Latin American and European states are to hold their first meeting of a contact group in Montevideo on Thursday.

Maduro showed no signs of caving in and lashed out at the European Union, accusing it of taking orders from the Trump administration, who he has repeatedly accused of trying to carry out a coup to get its hands on Venezuela's oil reserves, the world's largest.

Moscow - which among others back the Maduro government - stated that such action clearly amounts to foreign meddling.

Meanwhile, the opposition was moving ahead with a risky strategy to bring in humanitarian aid from Colombia, hoping to break the all-important military's loyalty to Maduro.

Venezuela's opposition has rejected any offers of dialogue that don't include Maduro's exit as a starting point.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $53-million in new Canadian funding to support the needs of Venezuelans, including the three million refugees who have been forced to flee the humanitarian crisis in the country.

"Any solution to the internal political crisis in Venezuela is possible only by Venezuelans themselves", the Kremlin spokesman stressed.

President Maduro described a potential military confrontation with the United States as "David against Goliath" struggle - one that Trump would regret. Madrid was among those to endorse Guaido as the "legitimate leader" of Venezuela.

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