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    Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido

    France to Recognise Guaido as President If Election Not Declared Sunday Evening

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    PARIS (Sputnik) - European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on Sunday that France will recognize Juan Guaido, the head of the Venezuelan National Assembly who proclaimed himself Venezuelan interim president on January 23, as the country's president if the election is not announced until Sunday evening.

    "Election [of Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro was a farce. If he does not undertake efforts to organize a presidential election before tonight, we will consider Mr. Guaido as the legitimate President of Venezuela," Loiseau said, as quoted by Le Figaro newspaper.

    READ MORE: Venezuelan Ambassador to Iraq Says Recognizes Guaido as Venezuelan Leader

    Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and President of Uruguay Tabare Vazquez said in a joint statement on Sunday that Uruguay and the European Union will conduct the first ministerial meeting of an international contact group on Venezuela to contribute to resolving a political crisis in the country.

    "The Oriental Republic of Uruguay and the EU will co-host on Thursday the 7th February the inaugural meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela," the statement says.

    The meeting, which will take place in Montevideo, will be held at a ministerial level, it added.

    The contact group will comprise the European Union, eight of its member states (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and Latin American countries (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Uruguay).

    Venezuela has been recently going through a political crisis, which further escalated after opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president. Incumbent President Nicolas Maduro accused Washington of trying to orchestrate a state coup in Venezuela after the United States and several of its allies immediately recognized Guaido as legitimate interim president. Russia is among the countries that have voiced their support for Maduro.

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    election, political crisis, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela
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