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UN Chief Responds to Guaido’s Letter, Offers Assistance to Venezuela - Spokesman

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UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres responded to the letter sent by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido for assistance and said the United Nations stands ready to increase humanitarian aid to Venezuela, United Nations Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Thursday.

"The Secretary-General did respond to the letter sent via Twitter by President of the National Assembly Juan Guaido which he sent earlier this week," Dujarric told reporters. "The Secretary-General … is concerned regarding the crisis in the country and the impact that it is having on the Venezuelan people. He said the United Nations is ready to increase its activities in Venezuela in the areas of humanitarian assistance and development."

Guterres explained in the letter that the United Nations needs consent and cooperation from the government of Venezuela in order to assist the country, Dujarric said.

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The spokesman also said the United Nations is aware of the initiative by Mexico and Uruguay and supported by Bolivia to hold an international conference on the peaceful settlement of the current political crisis in Venezuela.

The United Nations is awaiting more details on the proposed conference, Dujarric said.

On Saturday, Guaido uploaded on Twitter a copy of the letter that he sent to Guterres requesting the United Nations undertake an emergency humanitarian action in Venezuela to supply urgently needed food and address what he termed were high levels of violence in the country.

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Stephane Dujarric also noticed that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Pan American Health Organization have increased their humanitarian assistance to Venezuela.

“We have already scaled up in terms of health, nutrition, protection, and we continue increasing them as much as possible,” Dujarric said.

On Saturday, President of the National Assembly Juan Guaido uploaded on Twitter a copy of a letter he sent to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres asking the United Nations undertake an emergency humanitarian action in Venezuela to supply urgently needed food and address what he called high levels of violence in the country.

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Venezuela is currently going through a political crisis, with Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled Venezuelan National Assembly, having proclaimed himself the country's interim president on January 23. The United States and several allies have instantly recognized Guaido.

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Some of the EU countries, including the UK, Germany, France, and Spain declared on Saturday their intention to recognise Juan Guaido as the Venezuela's interim president if Caracas does not announce snap presidential elections within eight days.       

Constitutionally elected Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro urged European countries to withdraw their demand, accussing Washington of orchestrating a coup in the country.In particular, Maduro called Venezuela "the victim of a US conspiracy", referring to US Vice President Mike Pence promising Guaido "full American support" the day before he declared himself Venezuela's new head of state.

Russia, China, Mexico, Uruguay, Iran and Turkey among other countries, have voiced support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

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