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Lavrov visits Venezuela, reiterates Russia’s support for Maduro

EPA-EFE/SERGEI CHIRIKOV
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gestures during a joint news conference with his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl (not pictured) following their meeting in Moscow, Russia, 20 April 2018. Kneissl is in Moscow to discuss bilateral ties.

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Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov visited Caracas on Friday in a show of support for Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.
Last week, United States’ president Donald Trump met Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó at the White House. After disputing president Nicolas Maduro‘s 2018 controversial re-election, Guaidó proclaimed himself the country’s interim president, and was backed by almost 60 countries, including the EU, the US and UK.
Lavrov urged the international community to back a “political and diplomatic” solution to Venezuela’s troubles and denounced the US campaign to oust Maduro with sanctions. The Trump administration unveiled fresh sanctions against a fleet of commercial planes belonging to the Venezuelan state-owned CONVIASA airlines.
Maduro also condemned Trump’s support of Guaidó. Under Maduro’s leadership, Venezuela has suffered an economic collapse. More than 4 million citizens have fled the country, many to Colombia.
“Sadly, Venezuela’s crisis is part of a grand campaign with the end goal of overthrowing the legitimate government. We consider this scenario unacceptable”, Lavrov said.
He also met with other officials to talk about cooperation in areas such as energy, mining, agriculture, medicine and military-technical cooperation:
“It is important to develop our military technical cooperation to increase the defense capacity of our friends against outside threats”, Lavrov added.
Russia and Venezuela have a political, military and economic alliance that began years ago between Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Venezuela’s late-president Hugo Chávez.

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