13:47 GMT04 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United States hopes that Venezuela won't be "relying on Cubans and Russians" after a peaceful transition of power takes place in the South American country, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox Business.

    "Russia is there today. The Cubans are there today. We are very hopeful that when this peaceful transition takes place, which is our ultimate objective, then the Venezuelan people will want it to be sovereign and independent, not relying on Cubans and Russians for their security or their well-being", Pompeo said in the interview released late on Wednesday.

    Pompeo continued by noting that Lebanese movement Hezbollah, which has close relations to Iran, and is considered as an adversary by the United States, was also active in Venezuela.

    "People don’t recognise that Hezbollah has active cells — the Iranians are impacting the people of Venezuela and throughout South America. We have an obligation to take down that risk for America", Pompeo explained.

    The secretary of state noted he would raise this issue during an upcoming ministerial conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.

    The United States has been seeking to dismiss Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who was re-elected last May, claiming he falsified the results of the vote in order to declare himself president. Washington has supported Juan Guaido, the speaker of the opposition-led National Assembly, who proclaimed himself Venezuela’s interim president amid anti-government protests in January. The US was joined by a number of other regional states, while Maduro has been supported by China, Russia, and a number of other countries as Venezuela’s only legitimate president.

    READ MORE: Washington Offers To Lift Sanctions on Venezuela Officers Shifting to Guaido

    A number of EU member states have also individually recognised Guaido as Venezuela's acting president after the country's authorities failed to organise a new presidential election in the country within an eight-day period. EU countries were also expected to issue a joint statement recognising Guaido, however, Italy vetoed the motion.

    Maduro has lashed out at Washington over its policies toward Caracas, suggesting the United States wanted to take control of Venezuela’s oil assets and accusing Guaido of acting on instructions from Washington.


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