Italy slams EU decision to interfere in Venezuela

Published 02.02.2019 00:25

Defying the European Parliament's decision to recognize Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as the de facto head of state, Italy's deputy foreign minister warned that a Libya-style regime change must be avoided.

"Today, the greatest interest we have is to avoid a new war in Venezuela," Manlio Di Stefano told Italy's TV2000 network Thursday. Addressing the failed regime change in Libya, he said that it turned out to be a "mistake" as it has created instability not only for the country but the whole region. "We must prevent this from happening in Venezuela," he warned.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier this week warned that leaders in Washington were motivated by the desire "to get their hands on" Venezuela's massive oil reserves, "as they did in Iraq and Libya."

Venezuela has been rocked by protests since Jan. 10 when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for a second term following a vote boycott by the opposition. U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Guaido as president of the country.

Turkey, Russia and China opposed the U.S. call to support Guaido and condemned any international interference in Venezuela's internal affairs.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Friday that foreign interventions could even spark a civil war in Venezuela, condemning the European Parliament's decision to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president in the South American country.

Speaking to reporters in Romania's capital Bucharest, Çavuşoğlu said that "foreign intervention will not provide resolution, it could even spark a civil war."

Following the U.S.-led campaign against Venezuela's democratically elected President Maduro, EU lawmakers voted 429 in favor to 104 against, with 88 abstaining, at a special session in Brussels to recognize Venezuelan Congress head Guaido, who illegally declared himself interim president last week.

The EU was nervous at the precedent of a self-declaration and has been reluctant to follow the U.S. and most Latin American nations with immediate recognition of Guaido.

In the face of mounting pressure on Maduro, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated support for his Venezuelan counterpart and the democratically elected government. Erdoğan expressed his surprise and disappointment that Donald Trump was backing an apparent coup attempt.

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