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    An opposition member holds a Venezuelan national flag during a protest march against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019.

    Venezuelans Should Go Through Crisis on Their Own - Kremlin Spokesman

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    BISHKEK (Sputnik) - Venezuelans should decide how to settle the crisis in their country on their own, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

    "Any solution to the internal political crisis of Venezuela is possible only by the Venezuelans themselves. Imposing some decisions or trying to legitimize an attempt to usurp power, in our view, is both direct and indirect interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela," Peskov told reporters while commenting on EU members recognizing Venezuelan opposition parliament speaker Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela.

    "And this in no way contributes to a peaceful, effective and viable settlement of the crisis that Venezuelans are experiencing, and which, from our point of view, we believe, they should go through on their own," he said.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the European Union was giving an ultimatum to Caracas rather than mediating the Venezuelan crisis and called for settlement talks that would include all relevant parties.

    "The EU believes it has the right to dictate conditions for international mediation efforts, I don't know why. It would be more civilized and effective for all those interested in resolving the crisis in Venezuela to gather and negotiate first… The European Union demanded eight days ago that [Venezuelan President Nicholas] Maduro announced new presidential elections by now. So, today these mediators will have to recognize his opponent [Juan Guaido] as the new legitimate acting president. It is not mediation. It is an ultimatum," Lavrov said during his visit to Bishkek.

    READ MORE: If Venezuela Falls, China's Latin America Plans Could Falter, Analyst Warns

    Lavrov reiterated that Maduro was ready for negotiations with the opposition without preconditions, but Guaido, backed by Washington and the European Union, refused to hold talks.

    On January 26, European countries issued an ultimatum to the constitutionally-elected Venezuelan President Maduro, saying that he had eight days to organise an election or they would recognize opposition leader Guaido as the country's interim president.

    Venezuela is facing anti-government protests with opposition leader Guaido having declared himself the country's interim president on 23 January.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (550)

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    talks, European Union, Juan Guaido, Nicolas Maduro, Sergei Lavrov, Venezuela
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