President Maduro slams European Union countries over recognition of rival Guaido

President Maduro slams European Union countries over recognition of rival Guaido

However, she said that later a group of European countries would release a joint statement calling for snap elections in Venezuela and to recognise the president of the National Assembly as the interim president.

Guaido has won backing from the United States, European powers including France, Germany and Spain, Canada, Australia and a dozen Latin American countries to take over the leadership, but Russian Federation and China continue to support Maduro.

Maduro, for his part, stood defiant, accusing the United States of preparing a coup in the South American country and rejecting a US -backed effort to send emergency food and medicine into his country.

Venezuela has suffered an economic meltdown marked by hyperinflation and shortages of basic necessities that the opposition blames on the Maduro government.

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Venezuela will reconsider its bilateral relations with European countries which recognised Guaido, said the government, which has already broken off diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Europe's support has not gone down well with Russian Federation, one of the first countries to throw its support behind Maduro as the crisis evolved.

Trudeau said the money will go toward addressing the basic needs of most Venezuelans and assisting more than three million Venezuelan refugees overseas. "There is a lack of food and medicines, it's (facing) inflation and mass demonstrations".

Guaido is expected to announce a date for the arrival of humanitarian aid from the United States - a path Maduro believes will lead to a US-led military intervention.

Britain said it was now considering imposing sanctions to help bring about change in Venezuela and has urged Guaidó to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Japan that Guaido "is the legitimate interim president".

But in an interview with Spanish television station Sexta broadcast on Sunday evening, Maduro said he would not "cave in to pressure" from those calling for his departure.

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Defying European pressure, Maduro shrugged off an ultimatum by EU states demanding early elections.

Maduro has rejected all offers of aid, dismissing it as the thin edge of a wedge of United States military involvement.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.

Venezuela has the largest reserves in the world, but production has plunged under Mr Maduro's tenure.

"The United States wants to return to the 20th century of military coups, subordinate puppet governments and the looting of resources", Maduro said.

Canada has already contributed $2.2 million for the humanitarian crisis that's forced some three million Venezuelans from their homes, sending ripples across the region - particularly in neighbouring Brazil and Colombia, which are now faced with a refugee crisis.

Maduro said Monday he has written to Pope Francis asking for help in fostering dialogue.

"I'm with the Venezuelan people against regimes like that of Maduro, based on violence, fear and hunger", League leader Matteo Salvini said last month.

Italy, however, blocked a joint European Union position to recognise Guaido as interim president, diplomatic sources said, with the government in Rome deeply divided over the issue. It aims to facilitate dialogue and is due to hold its first meeting in Uruguay on Thursday.

At the beginning of a week of intense diplomacy, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meanwhile pledged $40 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans as he hosted a meeting of the Lima Group of Latin American countries and Canada.

On Monday, Guaido said the European Union needed "to act in unison so that the forces, who are still supporting Maduro feel all the weight of Europe's diplomatic and political pressure".

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