Australia supports Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido


Washington on Saturday urged the world to "pick a side" on Venezuela and financially disconnect from Maduro's government.

Guaido's declaration of himself as the interim president takes Venezuela into uncharted territory, with the possibility of the opposition now running a parallel government recognized overseas as legitimate but without control over state functions.

The situation in Venezuela escalated on Tuesday when the opposition-controlled National Assembly declared that Maduro had "usurped" power.

Maduro himself came to Turkey previous year after Erdogan's victory in the national and presidential elections, hailing the Turkish president as a "friend" of Caracas.

The meeting was mainly requested by the United States and some other countries in the wake of days of crisis in Venezuela marked by popular protests that erupted on Wednesday after the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaido, declared himself "interim president", a direct challenge to President Nicolas Maduro, who had been sworn in to a second term in office just two weeks earlier.

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"Australia calls for a transition to democracy in Venezuela as soon as possible".

The U.S. refused to accept Maduro's order to close its Caracas embassy, though Maduro's government on Saturday said it would ease the deadline for the diplomats to leave.

Russian Federation denounced the United States for interference.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Mr Maduro said Venezuela has held numerous elections of late - including presidential elections in May (which the United States and several Latin American nations did not recognise as legitimate) - and the European countries should withdraw their demand. USA diplomats in Venezuela have until Saturday to leave the country, but Washington has refused to fully comply fully with the exit order. "This is complete insolence", Maduro added, as he described the European countries' actions as a "mistake".

The U.S. last week announced it considers Guaido the legitimate leader of Venezuela on the grounds that the socialist Maduro's May re-election was fraudulent and the congress led by Guaido is the only legitimately elected national body in the country - assertions Maduro fiercely disputes. "It's that simple, especially when it comes to Venezuela", he said.

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The move came after Maduro severed relations with the US due to President Donald Trump's January. This is the USA supporting the people of Venezuela, who want their constitution and democracy followed.

French President Emmanuel Macron followed suit in a tweet, saying "the Venezuelan people must be able to freely decide on their future", as did German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz.

The United States has already recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela's president.

Maduro's reelection previous year was contested by the opposition and rejected by the US, EU and United Nations as a sham - but he has until now retained the loyalty of the powerful military.

The UK, Germany, France and Spain - all high-profile members of the United Nations with rights in the Security Council - said they would join the United States' coalition if, by the end of the eight-day ultimatem, Maduro has not called for free and fair elections. Maduro has since backed down and has agreed to 30 days to finalize the diplomats' roles in Venezuela.

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