06:37 GMT +323 February 2019
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    French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as part of the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018

    EU Supports 'Re-Establishment of Democracy' in Venezuela - Macron

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    The French president’s statement comes amid a crisis in Caracas, where the head of the opposition-run National Assembly, Juan Guaido, has declared himself the country's interim president, with the US and several other countries recognising him.

    "After the illegitimate election of Nicolas Maduro in May 2018, Europe has supported the re-establishment of democracy. I praise the courage of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who are marching for their liberty", Macron said on Twitter.

    The statement was echoed by spokeswoman for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Maja Kocijancic, who voiced hope that "political discussions" regarding ways to settle the conflict would soon be held.

    "[The] EU strongly calls for the start of an immediate political process leading to free and credible elections in conformity with the constitutional order… [We voice] full support to the National Assembly as the democratically elected institution", she noted at a press briefing.

    President Nicolas Maduro previously accused Washington of fomenting a coup in the country and announced that Caracas was breaking diplomatic and political relations with the United States, giving American diplomatic staff 72 hours to leave.

    READ MORE: Venezuela Crisis: What We Know So far as US, Number of Countries Back Opposition

    Addressing the decision, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Maduro's government is illegitimate, refused to take the diplomats back to the US and called on the Venezuelan military to protect American citizens. He went on to say that the United States would take appropriate action to hold anyone accountable who endangers the safety of American diplomatic personnel.

    Washington also promised to take action against President Maduro and his supporters if they attempt to harm members of the National Assembly or other opposition officials.

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    Emmanuel Macron, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela, France
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