Last Group of US Diplomats Left Venezuela - Maduro

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CARACAS (Sputnik) - The last group of US diplomats has left Venezuela earlier in the day, said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, adding that he had tasked the country's foreign ministry to launch talks with the United States on creation of so-called offices of mutual interests in the countries within 30 days.

Earlier in the day, the ministry released a statement announcing that the offices would be created.

"They [US diplomats] have already left the country, the last group left today," Maduro said in his address for a Venezuelan youth organization.

Juan Guaido, President of Venezuela's National Assembly, reacts during 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 Caracas, Venezuela January 23, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Talking about the offices of mutual interests, the president recalled that a similar body had been operating in Cuba, which has no diplomatic relations with the United States, during a year. He said that the work of the offices would be organized like it was in Cuba.

Earlier, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the United States and Venezuela will hold talks within 30 days on creation of "offices of mutual interests" in the countries' capitals, and during this period the diplomas from the US and the Venezuelan embassies will be allowed not to leave the countries where they are working.

The ministry recalled that the diplomats had started leaving the embassies on Friday.

"The two governments have agreed to hold talks on creating an office of mutual interests in each capital. In these offices, migration procedures will be carried out, and other issues of mutual interest will be solved in strict compliance with the international laws in case of bilateral ties rupture. Agreement should be reached within 30 days," the statement read.

Elliott Abrams - Sputnik International
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The ministry specified that diplomats from the US Embassy in Venezuela and the Venezuelan Embassy in the United States had been allowed to remain in the countries where they work in order to participate in these talks.

"During the agreed period they will be under diplomatic protection, but will have to conduct activities exclusively in the embassies," the statement read on.

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

On Tuesday, the situation in Venezuela, which has been hit by mass protests since the beginning of the week, escalated when the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared that Maduro had usurped power. Opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself interim president on the following day.

The United States along with some other states recognized Guaido as the interim president, after which Maduro accused the United States of organizing a coup in Venezuela. Maduro also decided to cut off diplomatic relations with the United States and asked US diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours.

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