13:17 GMT05 March 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States condemns the decision by Venezuela’s national election council to unilaterally advance the presidential vote, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press release on Thursday.

    "The United States denounces the decision by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council to unilaterally advance presidential elections without guarantees to ensure free, fair, and internationally-validated elections," Nauert said.

    Nauert stressed that the US supports opposition parties' decision to reject the Venezuelan government's terms for elections which will not be "free and fair."

    The statement also reads that the US will keep pressuring Venezuela to "restore the integrity" of the Southern American nation's constitution.

    This comes shortly after Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said that he had signed an agreement with the opposition during the negotiations in the Dominican Republic. The Venezuelan government signed the document unilaterally. The opposition didn't sign the agreement as it decided to spend more time to further study it. 

    Danilo Medina, the president of the Dominican Republic, said on Wednesday morning that the sides were discussing two dates for the election. While opposition insisted that election should be held on June 10, the government suggested setting March 8 as the date. Eventually, the sides agreed that April 22 should be the date for the election. However, Medina added that the opposition took extra time for the discussion on the issue and didn't sign the paper.

    The Venezuelan opposition has claimed it would not sign an "unworthy" agreement with the authorities to normalize the situation. Maduro's political opponents are also seeking the restoration of the parliament's powers, the opening of a humanitarian corridor for the delivery of food and medicine to Venezuela and the release of more than 200 political prisoners.

    The situation in Venezuela has been deteriorating since the last spring when the country's top court decided to restrict the legislative powers of the parliament as well as the election to the National Constituent Assembly initiated by Maduro with the intention of rewriting the constitution. The decision caused. The opposition, as well as the European Union or the United States, haven't recognized the National Constituent Assembly.


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