Venezuela's Maduro denounces election call but says ready to talk

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Shortly after the USA recognized Guaido as "interim president" on Wednesday, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino rejected Guaido's claims as "acting president", saying Maduro is "the legitimate president" and vowed to defend his authority against an attempted "coup d'etat".

"(The) U.S. has now stated all options are on the table which is. dangerous", Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on the sidelines of a U.N. Security Council meeting.

In addition to the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and numerous Latin American countries have recognized Guiado as interim president, while Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the European Union haved voiced their support for him but stopped short of an official endorsement.

Arreaza said Venezuela "will not allow anyone to impose on us any decision or order" and demanded that someone show him where in Venezuela's constitution says an individual can proclaim himself president. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told the Security Council.

The diplomatic friction and defection was triggered by USA recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president. Despite the regime's threats to throw out diplomats and cut off electricity, the USA had refused to close its embassy.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, was the first European Union leader to issue an ultimatum, saying that "if within eight days there are no fair, free and transparent elections called in Venezuela, Spain will recognise Juan Guaido as Venezuelan president". The U.S. and Cuba had a similar arrangement for decades before the Obama administration restored diplomatic relations with the communist-run island.

Maduro's government considers the US' actions a "vile" coup attempt, but is seemingly seeking a deal. "Not even the United States, but of the Donald Trump government?" he said.

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The US has pushed for Guaido to be recognised, taking the matter urgently to be discussed in the security council later on Saturday in NY. As Common Dreams reported, over 70 academics and experts signed an open letter demanding that the us "cease encouraging violence by pushing for violent, extralegal regime change".

Earlier in the day, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain declared their intention to recognize the head of opposition-controlled National Assembly of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, as the country's interim president if Caracas does not announce new elections within eight days.

Noting that "the situation in Venezuela belongs to the domestic affairs of that country", Ma said it "does not constitute a threat to worldwide peace and security and it is not on the agenda of the Security Council". "The illegality of what they are going to do with Venezuela is outrageous, but the Organization of American States just "renders a salute" and, following Washington, "rubberstamps" threats against a sovereign state", Nebenzia said. He said he is still willing to talk with the opposition.

Jerry Matthews Matjila also said that he fully supports Russia's call to facilitate an intra-Venezuelan dialogue as the only way to reach lasting peace in Venezuela.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, addressing the Security Council session, urged all nations to "stand with the forces of freedom" and back Guaido.

The US has been pushing for the global community to back Maduro's ouster. He urged new free and fair elections. "Set aside these ridiculous ultimatums of eight days".

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