12:02 GMT18 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is looking at potentially applying additional sanctions in Venezuela to put more pressure on the Maduro government, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said during a press briefing on Monday.

    "We are looking at additional sanctions - personal sanctions, economic sanctions - that we think will bring more pressure yet on the regime", Abrams said.

    Abrams pointed out that the Trump administration is looking at ways to use congressionally-appropriated funds to support the opposition in Venezuela, the National Assembly, and self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido.

    The United States will also try to convince other countries to provide diplomatic and financial support to the opposition, Abrams said.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also sought greater support from Uruguay to help US efforts oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in a phone conversation with Uruguayan President-elect Luis Lacalle Pou, the State Department said in a readout of the call on Monday.

    "Secretary Pompeo and President-elect Pou discussed expanding bilateral economic engagement and deeper cooperation on resolving the Maduro-made humanitarian crisis in Venezuela", the readout said. "The United States looks forward to developing a closer partnership with Uruguay based on our shared commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and security in the region".

    The appeal came during a congratulatory call to Pou, the winner of 24 November presidential elections, the readout said.

    Earlier, Venezuelan lawmakers who support opposition leader Juan Guaido voted to "re-elect" him as the speaker of the National Assembly, the country's parliament, after President Maduro confirmed the parliament had elected Parra, a lawmaker from the Primero Justicia party, as the new speaker for 2020-21. Maduro said Guaido's supporters had requested that the parliament building be cordoned off during the session when the election took place, which prevented Guaido from attending.

    Guaido illegally proclaimed himself president of Venezuela in January 2019 following the election in which Maduro was victorious. Guaido was promptly endorsed as the president by the United States and several Latin American countries, including Bolivia and Uruguay.

    Maduro has characterised the situation in the country as an attempted coup prompted by the United States. A number of countries, including Russia, China, Cuba, and Turkey, rejected Guaido's claims to the presidency and continue to recognise Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

    election, Uruguay, US State Department, Nicolas Maduro, Juan Guaido, coup, opposition, sanctions, Venezuela, US
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