United Kingdom recognises Juan Guaido as interim President of Venezuela

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However, she said that later a group of European countries would release a joint statement calling for snap elections in Venezuela and to recognise the president of the National Assembly as the interim president.

"The oppression of the illegitimate, kleptocratic Maduro regime must end".

Last week, several European Union nations gave Maduro an eight-day deadline to announce new elections or they would recognise Guaido as the country's leader.

"If a military coup took place in Venezuela, Mr Pedro Sanchez, your hands will forever be stained with blood", he said. She added that she hoped Guaido would initiate those elections as "quickly as possible".

The Lima Group's final statement out of Monday's meeting in Ottawa emphasized the group's "support for a process of peaceful transition through political and diplomatic means without the use of force".

"Imposing any solutions or efforts aimed at legitimizing the attempt of usurping power is, in our view, just direct and indirect meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs", Peskov said.

France, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and the Netherlands also recognized Guaido.

European Union states have been debating for days how to address the Venezuela crisis, with ten countries recognising the opposition leader after the expiry of a deadline for President Nicolas Maduro to call a new election.

"I don't accept ultimatums from anybody", Maduro told Spanish TV channel La Sexta in an interview broadcast late Sunday.

"It marks this fight not as a fight of Trump versus Maduro or Latin America versus Maduro but a fight that is of the world against Maduro", said Julio Borges, an exiled opposition politician who has been key in building Guaido's strategy. Already, the Bank of England has reportedly denied a request by Maduro to repatriate US$1.3 billion worth of Venezuelan gold being kept in its vaults.

Some of the EU countries backing Guaido are part of a newly formed "International Contact Group" of eight European and four Latin American nations.

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But David Lipton, the No. 2 at the International Monetary Fund, called Venezuela's economic crisis - marked by widespread food shortages, protracted hyperinflation and the loss of human capital through emigration - an "unprecedented economic storm" that will required generous, broad-based international support to overcome.

The situation has always been denounced by the opposition and Guaido stunned the world on January 23 when he declared himself acting president at a rally, declaring Maduro's presidency "illegitimate" and founded on flawed elections.

Currently, the country is facing a severe economic and humanitarian crisis that will continue to spill over to neighbouring countries.

Canada and the Lima Group of more than a dozen North and South American countries have backed Guaido as the legitimate replacement for Maduro, who followed left-wing populist Hugo Chavez into Venezuela's presidency after Chavez's death in 2013.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said Venezuelans have the right to "express themselves freely and democratically".

Turning to Washington's role in the Venezuelan crisis, Maduro claimed that "the military option is on (U.S. President) Donald Trump's table".

In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference.

Earlier Sunday, Maduro addressed troops on military exercises in Venezuela's coastal northeast, calling on them for "maximum cohesion" a day after a top Air Force general publicly sided with Guaido.

Guaido has called for a new demonstration on February 12, and another protest to push for the entry of aid.

Canada and its Latin American allies in the Lima Group, along with the United States, have been pushing for Maduro's departure.

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