WORLD

Venezuelan FM rejects EU ultimatum for new election

"Nobody is going to give us deadlines or tell us if there are elections or not. From where do you get the power to issue deadlines or ultimatums to a sovereign people? From where do you come up with such interventionist and, I would even say, childish action?" Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told a special session of the United Nations Security Council.

Venezuela's foreign minister rejected a European ultimatum Saturday to hold elections within eight days, insisting that Nicolas Maduro remained the legitimate president despite US-led pressure.

"Nobody is going to give us deadlines or tell us if there are elections or not," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told a special session of the United Nations Security Council.

"Europe, putting yourself at the tail of the United States? Not even the United States, but of the Donald Trump government?" he said.

"From where do you get the power to issue deadlines or ultimatums to a sovereign people? From where do you come up with such interventionist and, I would even say, childish action?"

Hours earlier, Britain, France, Germany and Spain told Maduro that he had eight days to organize elections or they would recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president.

The United States, Canada, and a number of Latin American nations have already recognized Guaido amid a mounting political and economic crisis that has led more than two million Venezuelans to flee in recent years.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, addressing the Security Council session, urged all nations to "stand with the forces of freedom" and back Guaido. He did not stay for Arreaza's remarks.

Arreaza said that the military, whose leadership remains loyal to Maduro, will never overthrow him.

"The National Bolivarian Armed Forces defend this constitution with their lives," he said.

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