Russia offers to mediate between Venezuela government, opposition
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Russia offers to mediate between Venezuela government, opposition

Alexander Shchetinin, the director of the Latin America Department at the Russian Foreign Ministry, offered mediation in Venezuela on Friday, according to the Russian RIA news agency. Shchetinin said Moscow was ready to cooperate with international players and use its capacity to ensure “dialog is established” between the conflicting parties in Venezuela. Venezuela is convulsed by political crisis. On Wednesday, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the “interim president” of the country, rejecting the presidency of Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn earlier after winning elections boycotted by the opposition. Minutes after Guaido’s self-proclamation, the United States said it recognized him as the “legitimate” leader of Venezuela, calling on other countries to follow suit. The government of President Maduro responded by cutting ties with the US. Pro- and anti-government rallies were also held in the capital, Caracas. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to support Maduro against a “destructive external interference that grossly violates the most basic norms of the international law.” Other countries, including Turkey and Iran, have expressed support for the elected government of Maduro and have condemned outside interference in Venezuela. ‘That will not pass’ The US State Department said on Friday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to press United Nations Security Council members to recognize Guaido as the “acting president” of Venezuela. The announcement was swiftly rejected by Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who vowed to oppose any such initiative. “That will not pass. For us, nothing changes,” Nebenzia told Reuters. Guaido, meanwhile, has pledged to press forward with a “transitional government.” At least 20 people have been reportedly killed in recent clashes between government supporters and opponents, prompting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to call for an independent investigation into the deaths on Friday.

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