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US Should Not Engage Militarily in Venezuela - Ex-SOUTHCOM Commander Stavridis

© AP Photo / Alik KepliczUS Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, speaks at the Global Forum conference in Wroclaw, Poland
US Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, speaks at the Global Forum conference in Wroclaw, Poland - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States must avoid intervening militarily in Venezuela to resolve the crisis in that country, former US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) head retired Adm. James Stavridis said on Wednesday.

"The United States should not engage militarily in the situation under the circumstances I see now," Stavridis said at a conference on the US-Turkey defense cooperation and the NATO alliance in Washington, DC.

Stavridis noted that crisis in Venezuela has "no military solution." He also said that this is a regional issue which all American countries have to solve together.

Recently several countries, including Mexico and Uruguay called for restoration of peace in Venezuela through the mechanism of inclusive dialogue.

READ MORE: Uruguay, Mexico Convene Intl Conference on Venezuela Crisis — Uruguay FM

Senator Lindsey Graham said on Monday that Trump had discussed with him the possibility of using military force in Venezuela a couple of weeks ago.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-run oil company PDVSA in an attempt to curb Maduro's financing of the military. The Venezuelan government, for its part, has started an investigation against Guaido, imposed a travel ban on him and frozen his assets, MSN reports.

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On 23 January, head of Venezuela's National Assembly Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president amid the ongoing anti-government protests. The United States and a number of other countries, which disputed last year's re-election of Maduro, have recognized Guaido's leadership. 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called Guaido a "US puppet" and accused Washington, which has stated that it has all options on the table to respond to the crisis, of organizing a coup in the Latin American country.    

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The UK, Germany, France, and Spain declared on 26 January their intention to recognise Juan Guaido as the country's interim president if Caracas does not announce snap presidential elections within eight days.

In turn, Russia, Cuba, China, Turkey and Iran have given Maduro's government full support, with Maduro himself calling 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. Maduro also stressed that Venezuela had held legitimate elections and urged European countries to withdraw their demand.         

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