Trump says U.S. military intervention in Venezuela 'an option;' Russia objects

UK recognises Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela

UK recognises Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela

On 26 January, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt made clear that unless Nicolas Maduro called presidential elections within 8 days, the United Kingdom would recognise National Assembly President, Juan Guaido, as the interim President of Venezuela, in line with the Venezuelan constitution.

Maduro, for his part, stood defiant, rejecting a U.S offer of humanitarian aid that has shifted attention to Venezuela's western border with Colombia, where opponents were gearing up to try to bring emergency food and medicine into the country.

"I call on the Venezuelan people to sign ... at all the barracks, factories, schools", Maduro said.

The coordinated recognition by a flood of European Union nations including Britain, Germany, France and Spain followed the expiration of an ultimatum for Maduro to call a new presidential election, aligning them with Washington and against Russian Federation and China.

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

Guaido's backers say he is the legitimate leader because he is president of Venezuela's congress, which they regard as the only lawfully elected power in the country.

Before the closed-door meeting got under way, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned a "dictatorship willing to use force and fear" to maintain its power.

Guaido on Twitter expressed his gratitude to the European Union leaders for supporting Venezuela's fight for freedom.

Alessandro Di Battista, a prominent figure in one of them, the 5-Star Movement, said: "Handing out ultimatums, sanctions, freezing Venezuelan goods".

Foreign ministers from the Lima Group countries - Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Saint Lucia, alongside representatives from the U.K, the European Union and the USA - met in Ottawa today to further solidify support for Guaido as protests over the legitimacy of Maduro's government continue to fill the streets in Venezuela. "It is time for free and fair elections", the spokesman told reporters, according to Reuters.

Mexico and Uruguay have not recognized Guaido, the head of the National Assembly who declared himself acting president on January 23 in place of Maduro.

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.

Maduro said Monday he has written to Pope Francis asking for help in fostering dialogue.

Such intervention "does not contribute in any way to a peaceful, effective and vital settlement to the crisis that Venezuelans are enduring", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

A total of 13 European nations had joined in solidarity with Guaido, recognising him as president.

Venezuelans of Italian origin are a large and influential group in the South American country.

A Canadian government official said: "How can we continue to support the opposition to keep the pressure up on the regime and push for new elections?"

Critics of Maduro blame the Venezuelan government's mismanagement for the lack of food and medical supplies. "The moment is now", Guaido said in a speech on Monday in Caracas, urging the military to allow humanitarian aid to reach people.

"Otherwise we are sentenced to death", he said.

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