European Union nations back Venezuela's Guaido as Maduro faces rising pressure

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Emily Thornberry is to distance herself from Jeremy Corbyn over his failure to condemn President Maduro of Venezuela's regime.

Speaking further, the ambassador said that Venezuela would favor Russia's mediation in the settlement of the escalating political crisis in the country.

A growing number of European nations publicly backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as his country's interim president, ratcheting up diplomatic pressure on President Nicolás Maduro to step down from power.

On Saturday, an air-force general defected to the opposition and reportedly fled to Colombia.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the worldwide community should help support Guaido by trying to block Maduro's government from foreign business transactions involving oil, gold and other assets.

Palacek, like numerous protesters, said he doesn't blame Maduro or his predecessor Hugo Chavez for the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

Guaido is "now the only legitimate representative of the Venezuelan state".

Sean Kilpatrick/CPPrime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, bottom left, look on as Venezuelan Opposition Leader Juan Guaido makes brief remarks via video link at the opening session of the 10th ministerial meeting of the Lima Group in Ottawa on February 4, 2019.

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Almost 19 European countries - including the UK, France, Spain and Germany - also joined the U.S.in recognizing Guaido. "A lot of those problems are a result of precisely of the economic sanctions levied against Venezuela and the fact that we've seen oil prices crash globally", he said. "I would like to reaffirm ... our actions and our co-operation with the Lima Group, along with Canada, and all the countries".

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also pledged $40million in humanitarian aid as he hosted a meeting of the Lima Group of Latin American countries and Canada.

The funds will go to "trusted partners" and neighbouring countries, Trudeau said.

Shipments aree also coming from Venezuelan companies overseas, Colombia, Canada and Germany. Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president.

Britain said it was now considering imposing sanctions to help bring about change in Venezuela and has urged Guaidó to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met the press along with Abe after their talks in Tokyo, said Guaido is the rightful person to take part in talks with Berlin and other European nations. Subsequently, Guaido, on January 23, proclaimed himself to be the President, despite Maduro winning the presidential elections previous year.

While the U.S. never ruled out a military option to support Juan Guaidó's claim to power, so far Washington has called for a peaceful transition of power in the Latin American country.

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