08:55 GMT +322 March 2019
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    Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido

    German Minister REVEALS Why Guaido Wasn't Arrested Upon His Return to Venezuela

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (392)
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    Earlier, Caracas declared the German ambassador to Venezuela persona non-grata, citing his alleged attempts to interfere in the country's internal affairs.

    The presence of foreign diplomats, including German Ambassador Daniel Kriener, at Caracas Airport on Monday probably "contributed" to Guaido's not being arrested by Venezuelan authorities, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said.

    "There was information that [Guaido] was meant to be arrested there, and I think the presence of various ambassadors contributed to helping prevent this arrest," Maas said, speaking to reporters in Berlin on Thursday, according to AP.

    The remarks follow Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza's announcement on Wednesday that Germany's ambassador to Venezuela had been given 48 hours to leave the country for his "interference in the country's internal affairs." In a statement, Arreaza called Kriener's behaviour "a clear violation of the norms of diplomatic relations."

    Heiko slammed Caracas' decision, calling the expulsion an "incomprehensible decision" and adding that Europe's support for Guaido was "unwavering."

    On Thursday, an EU Foreign Affairs spokesperson voiced the bloc's "regret" with Caracas's decision to expel Kriener and urged the authorities to reconsider.

    Guaido himself called the Venezuelan government's move a "threat against Germany," insisting that the German ambassador should stay in the country illegally and calling on Berlin to tightened sanctions against Caracas.

    The opposition leader arrived in Caracas on Monday following a trip abroad to several nations in the region.

    In this photo released by Colombia's presidential press office, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president of Venezuela, is escorted by Air Force Gen. Luis Carlos Cordoba, right, and Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo during a welcome ceremony for him at the military airport in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019
    © AP Photo / Colombian presidential press office / Efrain Herrera
    Germany endorsed US sanctions against Venezuela last week, with authorities promising to lobby the EU to adopt further restrictions against the country in the near future.

    Berlin joined Washington in recognising Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's leader after the opposition figure proclaimed himself the country's interim president on January 23.  Canada, multiple Latin American nations, and other European powers also offered support for Guiado's takeover bid. Russia, China, Bolivia, Turkey and Iran, among other countries, voiced their support for the Venezuelan government, urging outside powers not to interfere in the Latin American country's internal affairs.

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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (392)

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