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South African Envoy to UN Calls on EU to Rethink 8-Day Ultimatum to Venezuela

© AP Photo / Fernando LlanoAn opposition member holds a Venezuelan national flag during a protest march against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019.
An opposition member holds a Venezuelan national flag during a protest march against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. - Sputnik International
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UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The European Union should reconsider the ultimatum issued to Venezuela to announce an early election within eight days, South African Ambassador to the United Nations, Jerry Matthews Matjila told Sputnik on Saturday.

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.

"They must rethink it. I don’t know what it [the ultimatum] was based on," Matjila said. "They didn’t explain what was it based on."

Demonstrators clash with security forces while participating in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government and to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the end of the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez in Tachira, Venezuela - Sputnik International
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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.

Earlier on Saturday, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council that all efforts should be made to launch an intra-Venezuelan dialogue and that Russia was ready to contribute to such an effort.

"We support it 120 percent because that’s the only way you can have lasting peace when Venezuelans talk among themselves when Venezuelans discuss their own history, their future," Matjila said.

The South African ambassador noted that majority countries view such an approach as ensuring lasting peace in Venezuela.

"You know, we have 37 countries speaking and over 20 of them say they support it," Matjila said.

Venezuelan anti-government protesters hold signs against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a demonstration in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 - Sputnik International
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South Africa stands ready to help facilitate the intra-Venezuelan dialogue if asked to assist, Matjila added.

South African Ambassador also said that South Africa is prepared to contribute to facilitating an intra-Venezuelan dialogue if asked to do so.

"If we are asked we’ll do that…. If they really want us to assist, we can do so," Matjila said.

READ MORE: Iran-Contra Felon & Ex-Trump Opponent: Top Facts About US' New Venezuela Envoy

The South African ambassador issued the comments after the UN Security Council meet to discuss the current situation in Venezuela.

On Tuesday, the situation in Venezuela escalated when the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared that President Nicolas Maduro had usurped power. Opposition leader Jose Guaido proclaimed himself an interim president the following day. The United States, along with its allies and some Latin American countries, recognized Guaidoas the interim president of Venezuela.

Russia, China, Mexico, Uruguay and other countries have expressed support for the Maduro government as being the legitimate authority in Venezuela.

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