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VP Pence demands United Nations recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela's president
12 April 2019, 02:05 | Tara Lloyd
Mike Pompeo says Venezuela's Maduro is a "true threat" to the U.S.
Earlier Wednesday, US Vice President Mike Pence asked the United Nations to recognise Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, telling the Security Council, "Nicolas Maduro must go".
VP Pence to Venezuela ambassador: "With all due respect, Mr. Ambassador, you shouldn't be here".
On Wednesday, Pence said the USA was preparing a draft resolution which would see the United Nations recognize Guaido as president and replace the current Venezuelan ambassador with a new one, appointed by Guaido.
The country's leadership has been in question since late January when national assembly leader Juan Guaido challenged embattled President Nicolas Maduro as the country's acute economic crisis worsened.
Diplomats said it is unlikely Washington will get the support needed to adopt such a measure in either the Security Council or the General Assembly.
More than 50 countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela's leader.
Pence urged the Security Council to act to end the Maduro regime and recognize Interim President Juan Guaido.
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States of provoking an artificial crisis to oust Maduro and replace him "with their own pawn", actions he described as a "lawless, thuggish violation of worldwide law".
"It is clearly the case that the former leadership of Venezuela - the Maduro regime - is a true threat the United States of America", Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing Wednesday, citing Russia's military and political support for the Venezuelan government, as well as the alliances between Maduro and other US adversaries like Cuba and Iran.
"We call on the United States to once again recognize that the Venezuelan people and other peoples have the right to determine their own future", Nebenzia said. Maduro, supported by China and Russian Federation, among others, accused Guaido of plotting to overthrow him with backing from Washington.
The International Monetary Fund will not have any contact with Venezuela, nor allow the country to access its reserves held by the institution, until the international community recognises a government in Caracas, an IMF spokesman has said.
Following Pence's speech, Russia's United Nations envoy Vassily Nebenzia said that the U.S. had "artificially provoked a crisis" in Venezuela in order to overthrow "a legitimately elected leader and replace him with their own pawn".
United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock told the council that there is a "very real humanitarian problem" in the country.
"In Venezuela, there is a need to separate political and humanitarian objectives".
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