Major European nations recognize Guaido as Venezuela's leader
Updated 22:44, 04-Feb-2019

Eight European nations joined the U.S. in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president on Monday.

The coordinated move by the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands came after the expiry of an eight-day deadline set last weekend for Maduro to call a new election.

"Nicolas Maduro has not called presidential elections within eight-day limit we have set," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter.

"The UK alongside European allies now recognizes Guaido as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held," Hunt tweeted.

Denmark recognizes Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen tweeted ahead of a meeting with EU counterparts in Brussels.

"Denmark recognizes the President of the National Assembly... until new free and democratic elections take place," he said. "Applaud similar statements from key EU partners. Important EU statement coming up."

Venezuela's National Assembly president Juan Guaido speaks during an open meeting at the Central University of Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela, January 21, 2019. /VCG Photo

Venezuela's National Assembly president Juan Guaido speaks during an open meeting at the Central University of Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela, January 21, 2019. /VCG Photo

Germany joined several other European countries in recognizing Guaido as the interim leader after President Nicolas Maduro rejected their ultimatum to announce new presidential elections. 

Earlier on the same day, Spain, France, and the Netherlands also made the same announcement.

Guaido, who declared himself as the Latin America country's head of state roughly 10 days ago, said in a newspaper interview published on Monday he would do all he could to secure Italy's backing after the government split on whether or not to recognize him as the interim president.

Russia, China: We oppose foreign interference in Venezuela

Kremlin on Monday slammed the European countries‘ decision, calling the move "foreign meddling" to Venezuela's domestic affairs.

"Attempts to legitimize usurped power" constituted "interference in Venezuela's internal affairs," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. Such interference, he added, could not facilitate the "peaceful, effective and lasting settlement of the crisis the Venezuelans are going through."

Peskov reiterated Moscow's position that only the people of Venezuela could solve the crisis "which they should get through on their own." 

Earlier, the Chinese authorities made similar responses.

"China always maintains the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, opposing interference in Venezuelan domestic affairs and calling for international society to create favorable conditions for the peaceful dialogue," Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular press briefing on Thursday.

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World reactions to Venezuela's political crisis

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang stressed that China's cooperation with Venezuela is based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and joint development when asked if China would be "worried" that Venezuela cannot pay back its debt.

"We believe that however the situation develops or changes, cooperation between China and Venezuela will not be damaged," he added.

On Saturday, Maduro proposed early parliamentary elections.

(With inputs from Reuters)