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    A supporter of Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido holds a flag

    EU Prioritizes Prevention of Military Escalation in Venezuela - Commissioner

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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The European Union currently considers the prevention of military escalation in Venezuela a priority, and it is necessary to create conditions for a peaceful resolution of the situation, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides said on Wednesday.

    "The priority now is to prevent military escalation and create the conditions for a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis", Stylianides said, speaking in the European Parliament.

    The European Union intends to take additional measures, including on the issue of recognition of the leadership, if new presidential elections are not announced in Venezuela, the commissioner said.

    "In case new presidential elections not being announced, we Europeans will take further action, including on the issue of recognition of the country's leadership", he said.

    According to Stylianides, the European Union fully supports the National Assembly, considering it the only legitimate political body that was democratically elected by the people of Venezuela.

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

    On Tuesday, Mogherini held a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and the sides discussed efforts to ensure a "democratic transition" in crisis torn Venezuela.

    On Monday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton warned that the United States would take action if its diplomatic staff or Guaido are threatened with violence. On the same day Washington  sanctioned state-run oil giant PDVSA and seized billions of the country’s oil assets.

    Similarly, US Special Envoy Elliot Abrams for Venezuela warned Wednesday Nicolas Maduro that acting against self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido would be an "extremely foolish move", adding that Washington will keep up pressure on Maduro to step down by applying further sanctions and searching for assets such as bank accounts and gold holdings.

    The political crisis in Venezuela escalated last week, when opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the country's interim president. The National Assembly declared incumbent President Nicolas Maduro, whose last year’s re-election it considers illegitimate, a usurper. The move was immediately welcomed by the United States, which urged Maduro to step down and officially recognized Guaido as the country's leader.

    READ MORE: Maduro: Military Defectors in Colombia Planning Coup Attempt Against Venezuela

    Maduro, in turn, has insisted that he is the country's constitutional president and accused the opposition leader of being a "US puppet". Maduro also accused Washington, which has long voiced concerns over the legitimacy of his re-election last year, of organizing a coup in Venezuela.

    Russia, Mexico, and NATO-member Turkey are among those that continue to recognize incumbent President Nicholas Maduro, who was recently sworn in for a second term in office.

    On Tuesday, the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice banned Guaido from leaving the country and blocked his bank accounts until the completion of the launched investigation.

    READ MORE: Maduro: Bolton Prohibited Trump From Initiating Dialogue With Me (EXCLUSIVE)

    Topic:
    Political Crisis in Venezuela (564)

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    Tags:
    prevention, military, intervention, sanctions, Juan Guaido, Christos Stylianides, Nicolas Maduro, EU, United States, Venezuela
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