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    Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido

    Merkel: 'EU Wants to Play Its Part in Venezuela'

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday it was important to avoid tension in Venezuela but insisted that the nation’s best interests could only be guaranteed in a new presidential vote.

    "Foreign ministers agreed that we want to play our part in avoiding escalation but in a way that allows Venezuelans to advance their interests. We believe this can only be achieved through elections," she told reporters in Berlin.

    She reiterated that the European Union did not recognize the legitimacy of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who she said had until Sunday to call a new election before opposition leader Juan Guaido is recognized as the head of state by European states.

    READ MORE: EU Should Not Repeat Arab Spring, Maidan Mistakes in Venezuela — EU Lawmaker

    A supporter of Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido holds a flag while taking part in a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas, Venezuela January 30, 2019.
    © REUTERS / Manaure Quintero
    Germany and four other EU nations said last week they would join the United States and several Latin American countries that recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president if no vote were held.

    READ MORE: US Not Planning Military Intervention in Venezuela, But Option on Table — Bolton

    The political crisis in Venezuela has flared up on 23 January, when Guaido, the speaker of the opposition-led Venezuelan National Assembly, declared himself interim head of state amid ongoing anti-government protests. The United States and a number of other countries, which disputed last year's re-election of President Nicholas Maduro, have recognized the opposition leader. Maduro slammed Guaido as a US "puppet" and accused Washington of organizing a coup in the country.

    Russia and China, among others, said they backed the elected government in Caracas, stressing that Maduro is a legitimate president of the country.

    READ MORE: Foreign Meddling in Venezuela Crisis May Result in Civil War — Turkish FM

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    European Union, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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