Venezuela's Maduro rejects European Union ultimatum on fresh elections

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Israel on Sunday officially recognized the interim government of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, in a move that is certain to please the United States government but may cause problems for the local Jewish community.

Guaido stunned Venezuelans on Wednesday by declaring himself interim president before cheering supporters in the Venezuelan capital, buoyed by massive anti-government protests.

Russia, China, South Africa and Equatorial Guinea also blocked a USA push for a U.N. Security Council statement expressing full support for Venezuela's National Assembly as the country's "only democratically elected institution".

The United Nation's political chief says there are differing views on what the future should hold for Venezuela but the goal is "a political solution that will allow the country's citizens to enjoy peace, prosperity and all their human rights".

'No more delays, no more games.

"Once again, Venezuela will overcome this coup, and no imperial power will break the moral resistance of the people of Venezuela".

Up until now, Israeli officials kept mum on the unrest in Venezuela due to fears it might harm the Jewish community in the Latin American country after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro broke off diplomatic ties with the United States.

"If they want to leave Venezuela, they should all go, and now". "China always opposes interference in other countries' internal affairs and opposes foreign interference in Venezuela's affairs", he said.

"We have no plans to close the embassy", a State Department official said Sunday. "Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem".

In a video posted online on Saturday Silva urged "my brothers in the national armed forces" to recognize Guaido "as the only legitimate president", in accordance with Venezuela's constitution.

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During the debate, which was requested by the U.S., Pompeo urged all nations to end Venezuela's "nightmare" and to support Guaido.

"If President Trump, like other presidents of the United States, is in search of war to show he can govern and to stimulate the economy, he won't get that war in Venezuela", Arreaza told reporters later.

However, at a political rally on Saturday, Cabello said he had recordings of the conversation in the meeting, saying Guaido had asked him to support new elections.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza rejected the ultimatum.

Several European governments, including Britain, Spain, Germany and France, said Saturday they would recognize the 35-year-old Guaido as president if no election is called within eight days.

The first major military officer to publicly switch his support to Guaido was Venezuela's military attache in Washington, Army Colonel Jose Luis Silva.

"Our priority remains the safety and protection of our personnel and USA citizens overseas".

He said he was interested in talking to anybody, civilian or military, who would support ending what he calls Maduro's "usurpation" and back a transition government and free elections.

The council meeting came a day after Guaido vowed to remain on the streets until his country has a transitional government, while Maduro dug in and accused his opponents of orchestrating a coup.

Private Russian military contractors have been reported in other countries, including Syria, Ukraine, and in African nations.

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