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US Envoy Abrams Urges Incoming Biden Administration to Maintain Pressure on Venezuela

© REUTERS / POOLElliott Abrams speaks during a news conference at the State Department, in Washington, U.S., March 31, 2020
Elliott Abrams speaks during a news conference at the State Department, in Washington, U.S., March 31, 2020 - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Projected US President-elect Joe Biden's administration, when it takes over, must maintain the pressure on Caracas to engage in real negotiations, US Special Envoy Elliott Abrams said during a virtual discussion.

"The people of Venezuela have to have a free choice. And I think it will matter if the incoming administration makes it clear that they’re going to continue the pressure until the regime is willing to do a real negotiation that leads to a presidential election," Abrams said on Thursday.

Abrams renewed calls for President Nicolas Maduro's allies in government and the military to rethink their commitment to the Venezuelan president, saying that previous regime changes in the region have involved amnesty campaigns and indicating that a return to public service is a possibility, if Venezuelans so choose.

The projected incoming Biden administration should be inclined to continue the Trump administration’s Venezuela policy, Abrams said, suggesting that the pressure campaign on Caracas has been a bipartisan effort.

Venezuela is in the midst of a long-term political quagmire, which escalated last year after Juan Guaido, then head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, proclaimed himself an interim president of Venezuela in a bid to oust a recently reelected Maduro from power.

Tensions between the United States and Venezuela reached new heights after the United States recognized Guaido as the president of Venezuela. Russia, China and a host of other nations recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader of the country.

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