13:23 GMT31 May 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Canada’s foreign ministry has denied accreditation to Sputnik and RIA Novosti for a meeting of the Lima Group foreign ministers on Venezuela in Ottawa.

    Richard Walker, a spokesman for Canada's foreign ministry, explained to Sputnik's correspondent that the agency was denied accreditation because it "hasn't been cordial" with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland in the past.

    "Thank you for your interest in the 10th ministerial meeting of Lima Group in Ottawa. This email is to let you know you have NOT been accredited as media," the Canadian Foreign Ministry said in its original letter, notifying journalists about the refusal.

    The ministry did not cite any reasons behind its decision in the letter.

    Meanwhile, Walker said, when asked to explain the refusal, that "in the past Sputnik hasn't been cordial with minister Freeland."

    READ MORE: EU Rules Out Option of Military Invasion of Venezuela — Spanish Foreign Minister

    On Sunday, Venezuela-based Telesur television network said it was also denied access to Lima Group meeting by the Canadian government which did not provide any reasoning behind the move.

    The Lima Group, which comprises 14 member states, was established in August 2017 to promote democratic reforms in Venezuela. The majority of the member states have been critical of incumbent Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim leader.

    Venezuela is currently facing large-scale anti-government protests with Guaido having declared himself the country's interim president on January 23 in a bid to ouster Maduro. Canada, as well as the United States and a number of European and Latin American countries, have recognised Guaido's leadership. Russia, China and some other countries are backing Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

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