Viet Nam News
CARACAS — President Nicolas Maduro announced on Thursday the closure of Venezuela’s embassy and consulates in the United States having broken off diplomatic ties with President Donald Trump’s government the day before.
Maduro made the call during a special session at the Supreme Court in which he accused the US of pushing opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself Venezuela’s acting president on Wednesday, into attempting a coup d’etat.
In Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo kept up the pressure on the leftist leader, as the United States called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the crisis.
Maduro on Wednesday issued US diplomats a 72-hour deadline to leave the country, and on Thursday said he was recalling all Venezuelan diplomats from the United States.
The State Department meanwhile ordered its non-emergency staff to leave Venezuela but refused to comply with a full expulsion, saying it would maintain diplomatic ties with "the government of interim President Guaido."
Outside South America, the United States has been joined by Canada and Britain in recognising Guaido as Venezuela’s interim leader, while France has also rejected Maduro’s legitimacy.
But both Russia and China and have thrown their weight behind Maduro.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Maduro to express support, charging that the "crisis has been provoked from the outside."
China, Venezuela’s main creditor, opposed "interference in Venezuelan affairs by external forces."
Maduro has retained the support of Mexico, Cuba and Bolivia, all led by leftist governments.
And UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, appealed for dialogue to keep the crisis from spiraling out of control. — AFP