In an ultimatum to Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, Britain, France, Spain, and Germany have said they would recognise opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president unless he calls for elections.
In tweets published on Saturday, the leaders of France and Spain, Emmanuel Macron and Pedro Sanchez, said they would recognise Guado as “president in charge” if Venezuela is not given free elections.
“The Venezuelan people must be able to freely decide on their future,” said Macron, as did German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz.
“If within eight days there are no fair, free and transparent elections called in Venezuela, Spain will recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president”, said Sanchez.
Pressure is mounting on Maduro to hold new elections. The United States, Canada, and other South American countries have already recognised Guaido as acting president of Venezuela.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido has proclaimed himself Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, promising a political amnesty to those who come over to his side.
At a UN Security Council meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompe urged members to recognise Guaido as interim president.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has dismissed US calls for him to leave office accusing Washington of attempting to stage a coup.
Maduro said he welcomed the planned debate on Venezuela at the UN Security Council calling it an opportunity to reveal the truth.
“They put together a coup attempt, an international coup,” he said. “There is a media coup against Venezuela…”
“I am committed to national dialogue, today, tomorrow and always. I will be committed and ready to go wherever I personally have to go.”
But Russia supports the Venezuelan President and has sent military advisors into the region.
The United Nations has called for an investigation into alleged excessive use of force by Venezuelan security forces against anti-Maduro protesters, expressing “extreme concern” that the situation could rapidly spiral out of control.
Maduro’s reelection last year was contested by the opposition and criticised internationally, but he has retained the loyalty of the powerful military.
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