Venezuela's Guaido vows to reverse longstanding anti-Israel policy

DAILY SABAH
Istanbul
Published 13.02.2019 00:21

Venezuela's self-declared leader Juan Guaido, who retains the backing of the U.S., vowed to switch the country's policy toward Israel that Caracas cut off a decade ago in solidarity with the Palestinians.

"I am very happy to report that the process of stabilizing relations with Israel is at its height," Guaido told the Israel Hayom daily in an interview.

A formal announcement on reestablishing ties and opening a new Venezuelan Embassy in Israel would come "at the proper time," he added.

However, he made no comments whether he would follow in President Donald Trump's footsteps with the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. In his most radical foreign policy position, Trump reversed longstanding U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last year.

Since 2009, Israel has had no representation in Venezuela after the former President Hugo Chavez broke diplomatic ties over Israel's Operation Cast Lead, a 22-day military assault on the Gaza Strip. Chavez then deported all Israelis from the country, including envoys from Jewish organizations. Since then, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has maintained the country's policy.

Amid the U.S.-Israeli campaign for overthrowing democratically-elected President Maduro, Guaido declared himself interim president on Jan. 23. The U.S., which has not ruled out a military intervention in crisis-wracked Venezuela, was the first to recognize Guaido as acting president. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel now recognizes Guaido as Venezuela's official leader. Trump earlier warned he could use military force in Venezuela if Maduro does not hand over power.

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