22:21 GMT17 February 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Canadian government will host the Lima Group on February 4 to discuss the next steps regarding the political crisis in Venezuela, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland told reporters on Monday.

    "Canada will host an urgent meeting of the Lima Group of countries here in Ottawa on Monday, February 4, to discuss what steps we can take to support interim President Juan Guaido and the people of Venezuela," Freeland said.

    Last week, the conflict between the government and the opposition in Venezuela escalated as Guaido, the head of the National Assembly, declared himself the country's interim president in a move that has been recognized by the United States, Canada and a number of other countries.

    In turn, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused the US of orchestrating a coup in the Latin American country and said that Caracas was severing diplomatic ties with Washington.

    READ MORE: UN Considers Response After Venezuela’s Guaido Asks for Assistance — Spokesman

    The United States, Canada, Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and a number of other countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.

    In addition, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain announced Saturday their intention to recognize Guaido as interim president of the country if new elections are not announced in Venezuela within eight days.

    Russia said that it recognized only Maduro as the legitimately elected president of Venezuela and also voiced readiness to mediate a dialogue between the government and opposition.

    READ MORE: Venezuela Working to ‘Neutralise’ US as Driving Force Behind Coup Attempt — FM

    Earlier in January, Maduro took the oath of office to begin his second presidential term, which would last until 2025. The Organization of American States, members of the Lima Group — except Mexico — and the United States have refused to recognize Maduro's new term.

    Meanwhile, Guaido hopes that the United States will not use force in Venezuela, instead limiting pressure on Maduro's government to diplomatic and economic measures, the Colombian newspaper Tiempo reported Monday.

    Over the past several days, Venezuela has seen mass anti-government protests that have resulted in over a dozen deaths, according to media reports.

    READ MORE: Guaidó Says He Wants to ‘Increase Pressure’, Not Spark Conflict in Venezuela


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    crisis, talks, Lima Group, Juan Guaido, Canada, Venezuela
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