The Netherlands has joined the group of nations formally recognising Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s interim president.
Foreign affairs minister Stef Blok said the move was designed to put pressure on the incumbent president, Nicolás Maduro, to hold ‘free democratic and transparent’ elections as soon as possible. An eight-day deadline set by seven EU nations, including France, Germany and the UK, for Maduro to announce elections expired on Monday.
The Netherlands will retain its diplomats in Caracas but is diverting its channels of communication to Guaidó. The Caribbean island of Aruba, part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, is just over 20km from the Venezuelan coast.
The European Union has been unable to take a collective position because countries such as Italy and Greece are unwilling to recognise Guaidó. The lack of unanimity means the EU is unable to impose sanctions against Maduro’s government. Russia has also weighed in to the row, accusing the EU of foreign interference.
The eight-day period to call for free democratic and transparent elections in Venezuela expired today. The Kingdom of the Netherlands recognizes @jguaido as interim-President of Venezuela. We want freedom and democracy to return to Venezuela asap. https://t.co/RCQNxbdDTu
— Stef Blok (@ministerBlok) February 4, 2019
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