Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 May 2019

Venezuela crisis: Britain, France and Spain recognise Juan Guaido as interim president

Sweden, Austria and Denmark joined the call for him to be Venezuela's legitimate leader until new elections are held

Venezuela's National Assembly head and self-proclaimed "acting president" Juan Guaido raises his hand at the National Assembly in Caracas on January 29, 2019. AFP
Venezuela's National Assembly head and self-proclaimed "acting president" Juan Guaido raises his hand at the National Assembly in Caracas on January 29, 2019. AFP

Britain, Spain, France and several other European nations have recognised Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president.

"Venezuelans have the right to express themselves freely and democratically. France recognises @jguaido as 'acting president' to implement an electoral process," President Emmanuel Macron tweeted in both French and Spanish.

Sweden, Austria and Denmark joined the call for him to be Venezuela's legitimate leader until new elections are held. It came after an eight-day deadline they had set last week for Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro to call a new vote passed.

France stepped up pressure on Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Monday, saying Mr Guaido has the right to organise new elections.

"Guaido has the capacity and the legitimacy to organise an election," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter radio station.

The Venezuelan socialist leader, who is accused of running the Opec nation like a dictatorship and wrecking its economy, has defied that, saying Europe's ruling elite are following US President Donald Trump's agenda.

Mr Le Drian said France would consult European partners over Venezuela, and that it was imperative that the conflict was resolved peacefully and civil war avoided.

The United States, Canada and several Latin American countries have disavowed Mr Maduro over his disputed re-election last year, and backed Mr Guaido.

Mr Maduro, who has overseen an economic collapse and the exodus of millions of Venezuelans, maintains the backing of Russia, China and Turkey, and the support of the military top brass.

Russia, a major creditor to Venezuela, has urged restraint.

The Kremlin on Monday slammed what it said were attempts to interfere in Venezuela's domestic affairs after several European countries recognised the opposition chief as interim leader.

"Attempts to legitimise usurped power" constituted "interference in Venezuela's internal affairs," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Updated: February 4, 2019 02:31 PM

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