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UK Working Behind the Scenes to Unite EU Against Venezuela's Maduro – Report

Sputnik News

16:02 28.01.2019(updated 17:47 28.01.2019)

Earlier, US media reported that US President Donald Trump discussed the possibility of using military force against Venezuela with a senior Republican senator, two weeks before Western-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido proclaimed himself the country's interim president.

The UK's decision to join Washington in putting severe pressure on the Venezuelan government includes a bid to unite the European Union to forge a hard line against Maduro's government, The Guardian reported.

According to the newspaper, notwithstanding its looming exit from the EU bloc in March, London has devised a "three-fold strategy" which includes "maximum pressure" on Maduro on early elections, "keeping the EU united," protecting British diplomats in the Latin American country and "repeatedly point[ing] out Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's associations with the governments of Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez."

Corbyn, a staunch anti-interventionist, has faced attacks from the media and the Foreign Office over his long-standing positive stance on Venezuela, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt attacking him on Twitter over the weekend and suggesting Venezuela's poverty under its democratic socialist government might be "just the tiniest clue what Corbyn's policies might do to Britain."

The UK joined Spain, France, Germany and Portugal in recognising Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate leader, echoing US claims that President Maduro was not the "legitimate" president.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, echoed calls for fresh elections and warned of "further actions, including on the issue of recognition of the country's leadership," but did not go so far as to question Maduro's legitimacy amid doubts among EU members Austria, Greece and Italy, and fears that US efforts may only lead to further chaos.

On Sunday, senior US Senator Lindsey Graham told Axios that President Trump was "really hawkish" on Venezuela, and even asked him what he thought "about using military force" in the country. Graham, himself a well known hawk who supported US intervention in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, told Trump to "go slow" on Venezuela, and said that the use of military force would be "problematic," according to his own account.

According to The Guardian, Europe's pro-Guaido diplomats now have about a week to try "to bring doubters into line." For their part, "British diplomats are determined to show how many chances at reconciliation Maduro has spurned," the paper noted.

President Maduro accused Washington of attempting to stage a coup in his country and moved to cut diplomatic ties with the United States last week after Guaido proclaimed himself Venezuela's interim president and demanded early elections. Guaido's attempt at usurpation was quickly endorsed by the US, Canada, about a dozen nations in Latin America and several European powers.

Moscow urged foreign powers not to interfere in the Latin American country's internal affairs, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calling US policy toward Venezuela "destructive" and "unacceptable." Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, China, Iran, Syria and Turkey have affirmed their support for the Maduro government and urged foreign powers not to interfere.


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