21:35 GMT20 February 2020
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    The Trump administration pledged earlier in February to impose "impactful" measures on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro within the next 30 days, according to US administration officials.

    Washington has imposed sanctions on Venezuela's Conviasa Airline, the US Treasury Department said.

    The new sanctions also target 40 of Conviasa's aircraft, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a notice on its website.

    Conviasa is the largest airline of Venezuela, operating services to domestic destinations and throughout South America and the Caribbean.

    The statement comes after a US official said that Washington is confident that increased pressure on the Maduro government will create the opportunity for a transition of power.

    US President Donald Trump and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido are scheduled to meet at 2:15 p.m. EST (7:15 p.m. GMT) on 12 February at the White House to discuss facilitating a transition of government in Venezuela.

    Venezuela has been suffering from a severe political crisis since the beginning of last year, when Juan Guaido, the head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, proclaimed himself interim president of Venezuela in a bid to oust Maduro from power.

    Maduro has said that Guaido is a US puppet working with Washington to orchestrate a coup so that the United States can control Venezuela’s natural resources.

    After Guaido declared himself interim president, the US imposed a series of sanctions on Venezuela and froze the US-based assets of the state oil company PDVSA. Some European nations followed suit by cutting off the government’s access to foreign assets.

    Russia has been joined by China, Turkey and many other states in backing Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

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    Venezuela, sanctions, US Treasury Department, US Treasury, United States
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