Saturday 23 February 2019

Europe warns Maduro of deadline to make election pledge in Venezuela

Defiant: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters
Defiant: Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. Photo: Manaure Quintero/Reuters

Cody Weddle

European countries issued a last-ditch warning to Nicolas Maduro yesterday that they would recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president if he did not call elections, as the clock ticked down on their midnight deadline.

Nathalie Loiseau, France's Europe minister, reiterated that the ultimatum issued by Paris, London and five other European governments eight days ago was about to expire.

"If by tonight Mr Maduro does not commit to organising presidential elections, we will consider that Mr Guaido is legitimate to organise them in his place and we will consider [him] the interim president of Venezuela until legitimate elections."

The vote Mr Maduro won last May had been a "farce" and a "fictitious election", she said.

Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian chancellor, said yesterday that his government would join the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium in recognising Mr Guaido as leader.

Washington also turned up the heat on an increasingly isolated Mr Maduro, as US President Donald Trump again warned that military intervention in the oil-rich South American nation remained "an option".

The US swiftly recognised Mr Guaido as interim president after the parliamentary speaker swore himself in before a rally in Caracas on January 23.

Canada and a host of Latin American countries including Brazil, Colombia and Chile quickly followed suit.

Meanwhile, long-time allies of Mr Maduro, such as Russia and Cuba, criticised what they described as imperialist interference. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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