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Venezuela's Juan Guaido spoke with US Secretary of State Blinken

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    Reuters

Washington, United States   /   Wed, March 3, 2021   /   10:45 am
Venezuela's Juan Guaido spoke with US Secretary of State Blinken Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guiado spoke with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on March 2, 2021. (AFP/Yuri Cortez)

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, four people familiar with the matter said, the highest-level US contact with Guaido since President Joe Biden took office on Jan. 20.

"Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido today. Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of a return to democracy in Venezuela through free and fair elections," state department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, quoted by AFP.

The two spoke via video call.

Blinken called for "efforts to work with likeminded allies" such as the European Union, the Organization of American States and initiatives such as the Lima Group to "increase multilateral pressure" for a "peaceful, democratic transition" in the South American country, the statement said.

Blinken "committed to continued US support" in his call with Guaido, Price's statement said.

Guaido, according to a statement from his office, told Blinken he was committed to the United States and other allies in seeking political solutions while increasing humanitarian assistance to Venezuela.

"They agreed to work with the international community to achieve free, fair and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections," the statement said.

 

Washington recognized Guaido as Venezuela's rightful leader in January 2019 after Guaido, the leader of the opposition-held National Assembly, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing President Nicolas Maduro's 2018 re-election was fraudulent.

Maduro, who has held onto power backed by the South American country's military and allies including Russia, China and Cuba, argues Guaido is a US puppet seeking to oust him in a coup.